Background Health Workforce Australia, a national government organisation responsible for workforce development and reform, has made significant investments in simulation.1 The NHET-Sim Program will train 4,595 participants in the foundations of simulation education by the end of 2014.2 This improvement project addresses a critical need identified by those involved in healthcare entry level programs.3
Methodology The free Program covers several simulation modalities, is relevant to all professions and comprises twelve online modules and workshops. Facilitators undergo training and co-facilitate. Governance ensures relevance and uptake. The evaluation strategy involves – participants, faculty, simulation program managers, jurisdictional leaders in simulation, graduate healthcare simulation program directors etc. The structure, process and outcomes4 are evaluated through a mixed methods design. All participants evaluate the program in questionnaires and purposively sampled stakeholders participate in interviews. Descriptive statistics summarise numerical ratings and textual data analysed thematically.
Results So far 4,537 participants had registered with 2,328 completions. Participants’ mean ratings of the value of the Program elements exceed 4.5 (maximum score = 6). Participants’ report improvements in their practices, more use of simulation and working with different modalities. Educators have noted increased use and better integration of simulation into curricula. Program directors report increased enrolments in post-graduate healthcare simulation courses. Simulation centre managers report increased use of facilities and improved quality. Changes are directly attribution to the Program.
Conclusions A national approach for faculty development is feasible. A ground swell of interest in healthcare simulation is the direct result of this investment. The high quality program is valued by participants and relevant to their practice. Although there are limitations with the evaluation, the large data set and the direction of findings offer substantive evidence. A national program has enabled the development of shared language and processes and high levels of participation across the country, characterising a community of practice.5
Health Workforce Australia. Use of Simulated Learning Environments (SLE) in Professional Entry Level Curricula of selected professions in Australia. 2010; http://www.hwa.gov.au/sites/uploads/simulated-learning-environments-2010-12.pdf
The NHET-Sim Monash Team. The National Health Education and Training - Simulation Program. 2012; http://www.nhet-sim.edu.au. Accessed October 29, 2012
Nestel D, Watson M, Bearman M, et al. Strategic approaches to simulation-based education: A case study from Australia. J Health Specialties 2013;1(1):4–12
Owen J. Program Evaluation: Forms and Approaches. Third Edition ed. Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin; 2006
Wenger E. Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1998
- Category: Course or curriculum evaluation/innovation/integration
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