DESIGNING & DEVELOPING LEARNING ACTIVITIES
Wishing I Don't Blow It
When you wish upon a star, it makes no difference where you are.
But I thought it did.
When I was hired to direct a learning resource/simulation center at a university, I was a one-person department. And I was so determined to make a good impression. I had a dream that I could single-handedly design, develop, and implement a wide range of SBL activities.
I knew I couldn’t wave a wand over the students and turn them into RNs. (Although out of desperation I did try that one day.) I was getting frustrated. I realized that after 20 years of being a nurse, I was back to being a novice. Every time I toured institutions that had evidence-based simulation programs, I wanted to give up. I wished I worked at a larger institution. I wished I worked in Philadelphia or Oregon, or Maryland, or Texas. But here I was in Wilkes-Barre simply wishing upon stars and dreaming of one day having a simulation center that had the means to be an evidence-based center. But I knew it was a dream I could never make come true.
And I was right. I couldn’t. But WE could. I began looking to the stars. Not the celestial ones but simulation stars - experts in the field of simulation and staff who were passionate about SBL. I called simulation directors from the sites I toured and asked them to tell me their stories. I found INACSL, a community of simulation experts from all over the world, many at institutions just like mine. And we shared ideas. We asked questions and helped each other find solutions. I even had the opportunity to develop the international standards for simulation. At my university, I fought for positions and hired a group of individuals just as passionate about SBE as I am. We printed the standards of simulation and began going through them, coming up with ideas as to how we could develop policies and incorporate SBL into our nursing program. And slowly, our simulation program evolved into an evidence-based program.
I conducted a needs assessment, presented financials to the dean, and got approval and funding for a new state-of-the-art simulation center. I worked directly with the architect and contractors to ensure things were done to maximize the educational potential of the environment.
As one person, I could only make a small difference, but working with others who shared my dream, we could make significant progress. And we did. And we continue to make progress. So now, when I meet others that think their institutions are not big enough to design and develop an evidence-based simulation program, or when I meet people that think they don’t know enough about simulation to make things happen, I tell them all the same thing - go ahead and dream big.
Reach for the stars (or rather reach out to the stars in the simulation community), and it will make no difference where you are. Your dreams will come true.