who makes a sim team

there is no i in team? but there is in sim...

Just who exactly do you 'need' in a simulation to make it work...?

That is a difficult question and in short there is no right answer - all departments and simulation centres are different, all hospitals and specialities have different levels of interest and engagement, all teams and individuals have different levels of interest in simulation. Some will be overflowing with interest and struggle to meet demand. Others will remain under capacity, driven by one passionate & dedicated individual.

But what different roles of people available when planning to run a simulation:

  • Programme / content lead - this individual will generally have planned the session, coordinated any resources required and will take any subsequent actions based on results and events.

  • Simulation Technician - this individual plays a key role in driving the manikin during the scenario, managing any AV-equipment, and may help to support any set up of equipment / moulage, as well as provide introductions to kit / teaching as part of the project.

  • Simulation Manager - help to coordinate resources and may play a key role in teaching, acting as a stooge or supporting the debrief.

  • Stooge / Actors - either regular staff, or volunteers, may take on these roles - playing either the patient, or a range of Healthcare Professionals is often essential given the range of

  • Simulated Patient - when required an actor may be required to support simulations when the limitations of the manikin impair scenario design, they may be useful for hybrid simulations where task trainers facilitate advance training methods.

  • Debriefer - this may be the same as the content lead, or alternatively there may be several debrief leads - one may act to coordinate observers while the participant is undertaking the scenario, multiple debriefers can be helpful to provide multiple perspectives, or help stagger teaching during multiple scenarios or sessions.

  • Administrator - simulations can generate a lot of paperwork - registration sheets, feedback forms, consent forms, reflections, databases, scenario resources, room bookings, email requests... Having a dedicated individual to support audit, research and overall team performance can be particularly helpful, albeit this role may be taken on by the Simulation Manager in some centres.

  • Extended Simulation Faculty / Simulation Champions - building a list of individuals who are interested in supporting a simulation centre is vital to its sustainability. Not everyone can take on a named role within a simulation department, for those keen on developing their skills acting as a champion for your speciality can be a great way of building experience.

  • Learners - without learners there is minimal point of a simulation, after all, who is the scenario really for?

  • Patients - these are the most important individuals since the point of simulations is to improve patient safety and experience of healthcare, while also finding ways to improve how healthcare staff work and making them safer and more efficient. Some simulation programmes engage patients to better design scenarios to reflect high impact interventions.

This could translate into a faculty of 10+ depending on the event, or, all of it could be done by a single individual. The amount of work required per person can therefore vary significantly, but often needs must. While controversial I'm under no illusion that many centres, like much of the healthcare system, persevere on the good will of people more than they should. Faculty development is challenging and every effort should be made to support teams as able.


  1. Developing a Simulation Team: Challenges, Benefits & Opportunities - http://www.nln.org/docs/default-source/default-document-library/click-here---develop-a-sim-team.pdf?sfvrsn=0

  2. Faculty Development When Initiating Simulation Programs: Lessons Learned From the National Simulation Study - https://ncsbn.org/simulation_2015_jeffries.pdf

  3. Faculty Development in Simulation Education - https://www.nursing.theclinics.com/article/S0029-6465(15)00021-3/pdf

  4. Standards for organisations that deliver simulation based education - https://www.hee.nhs.uk/sites/default/files/documents/Standards%20for%20organisations%20that%20deliver%20simulation.pdf

  5. Using a Train-the-Trainer Model to Prepare Educators for Simulation Instruction - http://m2.wyanokecdn.com/60d073316b87f3d9b3ae64bb089d6629.pdf

  6. Simulation Champion Certificate Programme - https://www.um.edu.mt/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/351814/SimulationChampionProgramme-CourseDescription.pdf

  7. https://www.e-lfh.org.uk/programmes/simulation-faculty-development/

  8. https://scschf.org/faculty-development/

  9. https://www.guysandstthomaseducation.com/project/simulation-faculty-training/

  10. https://scholarworks.waldenu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=4666&context=dissertations

  11. Faculty perceptions of simulation programs in healthcare education - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4662865/pdf/ijme-6-166.pdf

Simulation Technician references

  1. https://aspih.org.uk/technicians/launch-of-the-simulation-technician-education-programme-step/

  2. https://aspih.org.uk/route-to-professional-registration/

  3. https://sciencecouncil.org/scientists-science-technicians/which-professional-award-is-right-for-me/rscitech/

  4. https://www.healthysimulation.com/4594/how-to-start-a-career-as-a-medical-simulation-technician/

  5. https://www.simghosts.org/sim/SG15USA_-_Training_For_The_NEW_Simulation_Technici.asp

  6. https://journals.lww.com/simulationinhealthcare/Fulltext/2015/10000/Defining_the_Simulation_Technician_Role__Results.5.aspx

  7. https://www.level3healthcare.com/blog/simulationtechnicians/

  8. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1876139917300385