If you’re creating training or development materials for the healthcare industry, simulations aren’t just optional—at this point, with all of the available technology, combined with a lack of overall resources of the healthcare industry, simulations have become a necessity.

Simulations aren’t just useful for basic training – they’ve been proven as one of the key ways to ensure patient safety and overall compliance on the part of healthcare employees, and they also happen to be relatively inexpensive and easy to implement.

The Basics of Simulations

Simulations allow real world practice without all the consequences.
Simulations allow real world practice without all the consequences.

A simulation is essentially a combination of multimedia components and narration that allows for the creation of true-to-life clinical situations.

Simulations provide an opportunity within eLearning modules for the learner to make choices and then see the outcomes for those choices. This is in contrast to more traditional linear eLearning, where the learner simply progresses through a set of coursework in the same way as every other student.

Simulations can be used for a range of purposes, from educating employees, to assessing their skills and decision-making.

Typically a simulation is a combination of real-life situations, and they’re about imitating behavior that will then become applicable in actual healthcare settings.

Why are Simulations Valuable for Healthcare Training?

There are a number of reasons healthcare trainers find tremendous value in simulations, but perhaps the most important is the fact that simulations allow for diagnostic decisions to be made in a low-risk environment. There’s no room for error when healthcare professionals are working with real-life patients, so scenarios provide them the opportunity to explore the decision-making process, without the risk of a mistake.

Since there is no risk associated with making a decision in a simulated environment, through eLearning that utilizes simulation, employees and healthcare professionals can become comfortable enough to translate their knowledge and experience to an actual clinical setting.

Also, this low-risk environment allows the healthcare provider to become comfortable addressing a variety of situations, and focus on developing expertise.

Another way simulations become valuable in healthcare-based eLearning is their ability to make the content more engaging. Because the student is charged with making decisions in a unique, multimedia format, they’re likely to get more value from the training materials in general.

This is valuable for healthcare organizations because their employees are more likely to retain information when they’re interested, thereby reducing the room for error, and saving money and time in the training process.

Simulations are also a good way to allow students to utilize the information they’re learning, which can then become a way to assess the progress of students. Healthcare eLearning can’t just be about dumping information, and simulations create that opportunity for students to apply their knowledge, and then administrators can see how well that knowledge is actually translating to the “real world.”

Finally, simulations open up the opportunity to fail, and that’s something that’s incredibly important in the healthcare training process. Typically in an actual clinical setting there is no room for error or failure, but simulations let students not only fail, but also to see the potential outcomes and consequences for their actions. Students can easily explore a range of options, and directly see the impact any one of these choices could have.

The Increasing Importance of Simulations in Healthcare Training

The healthcare industry landscape is continuously changing, and demands become greater and greater, while resources become more limited. Simulations and eLearning in general provide opportunities for healthcare-based organizations to thoroughly and effectively train employees, mitigate risks and improve efficiency.

Photo credit: Flickr/codnewsroom