June Presidential Message > The Society for Simulation in Healthcare

Hello, this month’s “Column from the President” is from your President-elect, KT Waxman. 

Happy summer!

The focus of this column is leadership.  In 2005, when I started in simulation, in my world it was all about the manikin. We weren’t talking about high-performing teams, innovation or leadership, we were focused on technology. Flash forward to 2018 and, although the manikin remains important, it really is about simulation methodology and outcomes regardless of the type of simulation we use.  From high-fidelity to virtual reality to standardized patients to haptics to improvisation, it is all simulation.  With these different types, whether in a simulation center, in situ or in the field, we need consistent leadership, and teams of inter-professionals, to move our simulation agenda forward.  The Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH) is the leading interprofessional organization for simulation professionals.  We are leaders in simulation, and so are you! 

Consistent leadership is necessary to build and sustain a simulation program.  High- performing team outputs result in innovation, strategy and sustainability, and have a sense of purpose, common and shared visions, goals, objectives and values. They also have open communication, and look for solutions to problems instead of being part of the problem.   As we teach our students/learners TeamSTEPPS methodology, we can utilize the CUS concept (I am Concerned; I am Uncomfortable; and this is a Safety issue) in practice.  As a member of your simulation team, you should be comfortable speaking up if things do not appear right, and as a leader, encourage this behavior.  Have you ever witnessed a poor simulation or poor debriefing?  If yes, what have you done to make sure that doesn’t reoccur?  It is not OK to look the other way.  If you are uncomfortable, speak to the person, knowing that your learners are at stake.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

We cannot do this work alone, we need teams that are high-performing and risk takers.  As LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman said, “no matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team”. Your role on a team -- whether leader or member -- is crucial to your program’s sustainability.  At the end of the day, it is about enhancing patient and learner outcomes.   We are all leaders in simulation whether you lead staff or students, and I applaud all of you for building your program, convincing your administrators that is the right thing to do and advocating for simulation each day!

Leaders also look beyond the day-to-day and think strategically.  They ask questions and are curious.  They delegate, mentor, are comfortable with ambiguity and challenge the status quo.   They not only build programs, they figure out how to sustain them.  Sustainability in simulation is critical; collecting and analyzing data to build the business case for simulation and articulating the value of simulation is a skill that evolves over time.  Think about what metrics you are tracking, is there a correlation to outcomes?  What reportable data do you already have that you can make the business case for sustaining or growing your program?  (Notice I do not say “center” or “lab”, as it really is an educational program and simulation is the methodology).        

Each day you tackle difficult, sometimes seemingly impossible, challenges as you work to improve patient care. Your SSH membership offers ongoing opportunities to take your leadership skills to the next level through education, research, publications, volunteering and so much more. I have been a member of SSH since 2006 and have served on numerous committees. Now, as your President-elect, I am excited to be part of the SSH leadership team and would love to hear from you. Please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn (KT Waxman), and Twitter @ktwaxman.

Associate Professor, University of San Francisco
Director, Executive Leader Doctor of Nursing Practice Program
Director, California Simulation Alliance

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