The following NLNTEQ Blog submission is Part 2 of a 2-part series on developing simulation consortia. Part 1 was published in March.

Guest Bloggers: Dr. KT Waxman

Following are 10 steps to consider when building a simulation consortium/alliance collaborative along with lessons we have learned.

The California Simulation Alliance (CSA), led by HealthImpact (formerly known as the California Institute for Nursing & Health Care), is a virtual alliance that benefits all simulation users in the state of California. The alliance is one of many in the country. Its mission is to coordinate and expand the use of all forms of simulation in academic and service settings to advance health care education and ultimately enhance patient safety for all Californians. The CSA is governed by an interprofessional advisory committee and a steering committee comprised of representatives from schools of nursing, allied health, and medicine and hospitals from the seven regions of the state.

Building the alliance took time. Starting as a regional collaborative in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Bay Area Simulation Collaborative was formed with the support of a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in 2006. Launched in 2008, the CSA is now a sustainable program with no grant funding.

Here are 10 concise steps to consider when building your simulation consortium/alliance.

  1. Identify strong and consistent leadership (one person to take the lead).
  2. Develop a governance structure.
  3. Develop a mission and vision statement.
  4. Articulate your mission and goals to all stakeholders (have champion group vote on this).
  5. Create a website.
  6. Ensure that you have a dedicated group of “champions” (early adopters).
  7. Identify key stakeholders (think about industry, interprofessional groups).
  8. Communicate frequently regarding progress (create a communication plan).
  9. Create a strategic activity plan with key milestones (develop a Gantt chart).
  10. Create a business model with a focus on sustainability. (This plan needs to include ways to bring in funds to keep the alliance running. Will you offer courses? Do you have sponsor funds? Will you have other products for sale?)

Of all the learning that occurred over the ensuing years, the point that rises to the top is the need for a solid sustainability plan. Here are some additional helpful points to consider:

Lessons learned:

  • Focus on early adopters, not the resistors.
  • Support and mentor the early champions.
  • Focus on results and outcomes, not on the novelty of a new technology.
  • Diversify; consider a broad range of products and services.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate, and communicate again.
  • Continuously update your mailing list and respond promptly to emails and texts.
  • Follow through with contacts on innovative ideas.
  • Begin with an interprofessional approach early on with academic/clinical partnerships.
  • Be patient; development takes time, energy, and consistent leadership
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for money.

The schematic below, from a 2016 book by KT Wazman and J. Maxworthy, shows the common features of a simulation alliance.


Waxman, KT, & Maxworthy, J. (2016). Healthcare simulation program builder: Easy tools to build and enhance your staff training. (Chapter 2, English, L.). Marblehead, MA: HCPro.


KTWaxmanDr. KT Waxman is an Associate Professor at the University of San Francisco, and the Director of the California Simulation Alliance (CSA) at HealthImpact. She has been involved in simulation since 2005 and has published numerous articles, book chapters and one book.

Dr. Waxman received her DNP from the University of San Francisco, with an emphasis on health systems leadership and a concentration in clinical simulation. She holds certifications as Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL), Certification in Executive Nursing Practice (CENP),

Certification as a Simulation Healthcare Educator (CHSE) and is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN) and the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (FSSH).

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