March Presidential Message - COVID-19 Presents Opportunity for Innovation, Analysis, and Planning > The Society for Simulation in Healthcare

First off, give a round of virtual applause to the SSH Staff for RAPIDLY pulling together the COVID-19 webpage and populating it so smartly with relevant information. Hat's off to SSH Director of Marketing Curtis Kitchen and SSH Web/Database Coordinator Colin Rupp, specifically, for making that happen.  

There is a universal curse, wrongly attributed to the Chinese interestingly enough, that goes, "may you live in interesting times."  According to Wikipedia, "While seemingly a blessing, the expression is normally used ironically; life is better in "uninteresting times" of peace and tranquility than in "interesting" ones, which are usually times of trouble."

I think we are living in interesting times, much to our collective chagrin.

I choose to see our current times as full of opportunities, and in that mindset, here are three areas of opportunity I am focused on for the Society as well as the sim center I direct:



Nothing like a pandemic to bring out your creativity and "abnormal" thinking to solve problems – made all the more challenging by physical distancing and working from home. Talk about thinking outside the box! So many of us are thinking about different ways to provide standardized patient encounters, and other typically in-person/in-contact learning, without the luxury of cohabitation! I believe that we can and should capture these innovations and  incorporate them into our "normal" operations.  Better yet – our aim should be to capture our collaboratively innovative processes to make ourselves and our teams more agile thinkers and do-ers. You know …  become better simulationists!


So, what is on your list of things that you wish you had worked on before the pandemic shifted your priorities and your workflows? Did you have everyone's cell number? Did faculty know what you can and cannot do virtually? Do you know how to disinfect manikins? Do you have a process to prioritize requests? What might you have done ahead of time to make switching modes more efficient and effective? What is the best way for organizations like SSH and your own sim center to openly collaborate and share? Analyzing the "what if's" that are actually "what-are's" is important to do before you lose recent memories and experience to time and fatigue.


When this ends – and, it will end - what is your plan to bring everybody back and re-engage the curriculum and "normal" schedule of events? There will likely be an immediate surge in requests for sim services. How will you prioritize these requests? How can the Society, its affiliate and partner organizations, and all the other related organizations out there come together more effectively to work and act with a coordinated voice that speaks with validity about patient safety and caregiver preparedness?  

Taking advantage of the opportunities we have before us as we tackle COVID-19 in real-time is hard but important.  We owe it to ourselves to learn as much as we can from the experience in order to become more effective, more efficient, and more valuable to learners, faculty, caregivers, and, ultimately, to our patients.

Keep calm and wash your hands,

Bob Armstrong - SSH President

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