Operations. The Daily Flow. The Day-to-Day. The Grind. The Work Week. Whatever you call your schedule, operations are vital to the success of your simulation (and any) program and when things are not flowing according to plan, equipment gets (and stays) broken, faculty, instructors, and students are not happy. Simulation is a team sport and assembling an awesome operations team will make or break your program. So, what are the key elements?
The number one element and characteristic that a simulation team must share is a service leadership mentality. Without a shared vision of being of service and helping others, things can fall apart quickly. Ultimately, there will be times where people become frustrated for whatever reason; equipment will break, politics happen and so on. If your team is consistently willing to help solve problems and assist others, this will move your program forward. It’s very important that the operations team (including management) needs to be on the same page when it comes to being of service to others.
Another key element is having a strong administrative and detailed focused person. This individual will obtain numerous product and supplies quotes, draft schedules, demonstrate outstanding customer service and resolve conflicts with strong personalities (but there are no strong personalities in healthcare, right? *wink wink). The administrative component of your program needs to possess the ability to remain patient and calm, follow up and be highly effective communicators. Depending on the size of your operations, you may want to consider web-based scheduling to free up some administrative and logistics time.
What about the technical element? Is a healthcare background necessary to be a simulation technologist? Perhaps we can discuss this topic in a future post, however, does it take a Master’s degree to operate and fix a patient simulator? No. What is important is to demonstrate service leadership and help solve problems. Of course, the technical person should be keen on how the equipment works, including some general knowledge of information technology.
The most important aspect of the operations team is attitude and the shared vision of being of service. Technology changes, people win the lottery and quit jobs and the list goes on. Clearly demonstrating that the team is there to help will take your simulation program to the next level. After all, people want to be around those who are positive and helping others develop is what simulation is all about.
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