Systems Integration. Part 6 of the 7-Part Series Dissecting the Sim Ops Standard

By: Tonya Schneidereith and Crystel L. Farina

Previously in this series we helped you think about simulation readiness, the role of strategic planning, different ways to conceptualize staffing models, the importance of systems management, and financial considerations. Now in part 6, we synthesize these topics within the context of the parent organization’s system, including strategic planning, evaluation, and resource management.

As identified in Part 2 on strategic planning, the simulation program should align with the mission and vision statements of the parent organization (INACSL Standards Committee, 2017; Society for Simulation in Healthcare, 2016). Ensure that the program contributes to the organization’s short- and long-term goals and is part of the organizational chart. Whether your simulation center is within an academic institution or hospital, the chart provides a visual demonstration to link the sim program with the parent organization and identify reporting structures.

Consider how your program periodically reviews the strategic plan and short- and long-term goals. An advisory board or committee of faculty, staff, students, and stakeholders can help regularly assess plans and goals to evaluate if your strategies are meeting benchmarks or if they require revision to stay on target. Have quarterly meetings to discuss programmatic goals and anticipated trends for the upcoming year (e.g., increased student enrollment, capital expenditures).

Also determine key performance indicators for your simulation program. Examples include learner evaluations, space utilization reports, faculty teaching hours, or decreases in error or infection rates, such as medication errors or catheter-associated urinary tract infections. When possible, try to use data collection methods that have established metrics. Two great resources for tools include Evaluating Healthcare Simulation and the INACSL Repository of Instruments Used in Simulation Research.

 Once you have identified performance indicators, and collected and analyzed the data, please do not forget to apprise stakeholders on how your program is doing. Consider an annual meeting for simulation team members, advisory board members, and stakeholders to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. We have had countless conversations with colleagues who readily collect data, but then have that data sit on a desk or in a computer, never to be seen or spoken of again. This data can inform quality improvement initiatives, including whether you have the appropriate personnel resources, equipment, and space to meet program goals.

So, tell us what you are doing to ensure that your sim program is integrated where you are. What tips do you have for other simulationists?


INACSL Standards Committee. (2017). INACSL Standards of Best Practice: SimulationSM: Operations. Clinical Simulation in Nursing, 13, 681-687. doi:10.1016/j.ecns.2017.10.005

Society for Simulation in Healthcare. (2016b). Accreditation standards. In Core standards and measurement criteria (pp. 1-5). Retrieved from

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