Brandon "Kyle" Johnson PhD, RN, CHSE

Brandon "Kyle" Johnson PhD, RN, CHSE

Assistant Professor, Clinical & Simulation Director, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Nursing—Traditional Undergraduate Program

INACSL: Tell us about your personal and professional background.

Kyle: I was born and raised in a rural area (High School graduating class of 20) of West Texas and moved to Lubbock (a big city to me) to attend Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC). I graduated with my BSN in 2010 and decided to stay in Lubbock to start my career. A year later, I met my future wife in an airport on the way to South Africa for a mission trip. After returning from the mission trip, we stayed in touch and married in 2012. We have one daughter, Claire Jane, who is 4-years-old, and a 2-month-old, Archie Jack.

INACSL: How did you become interested in simulation?

Kyle: When I was practicing in the cardiovascular intensive care unit, I was called into work around midnight to assist with a patient requiring therapeutic hypothermia treatment. In the middle of providing care, I recognized a gap in my knowledge despite extensive classroom time. Although the patient outcome was ok, as I went home, I reflected quite a bit on how to better prepare myself next time and found myself cognitively rehearsing it all again and again for the next time. Fast forward a year, when I was in my MSN program, I read an article on the reflective practitioner and the connection to debriefing in simulation—and it clicked. I remembered my patient experience. It finally made sense what teachers were attempting to explore with me in debriefing when I was a student! I was also fortunate at this time to work with amazing leaders in simulation. Working at TTUHSC and completing doctoral studies at Indiana University allowed me to work alongside some internationally known thought leaders in simulation and nursing education. My research allowed me to take a deep dive into the pedagogy of simulation and best practices in nursing education (and education in general)—merging two worlds together for me that I am passionate about and I can see that passion lasting for a lifetime.

INACSL: Explain your current role in simulation. Please elaborate.

Kyle: I am lucky to be involved in simulation in all aspects of my faculty role: administration/teaching, research, and service. As the Clinical and Simulation Director, I oversee the simulation curriculum and have a great opportunity to work with faculty who desire to develop new simulation experiences or modify current simulation experiences. As a tenure-track researcher, my program of research examines student roles in simulation (observer and participant) as well as faculty and student outcomes in simulation with debriefing. I work with a team of researchers at different schools across the US who are thought leaders in nursing education research. For service, I most recently rotated off as the INACSL Co-Chair of the ASPE/INACSL/SSH Regional Simulation Workshop Committee and previously served on the Regulatory Initiative Committee. I currently serve as a member of the Regional Simulation Workshop Committee and Social Media committee. I also serve as a reviewer for Clinical Simulation in Nursing.

INACSL: What value do you see in simulation as a teaching-learning strategy?

Kyle: Wow—this is a loaded question! For me—the value of simulation translates SO much more to a way of living. The greater goal of simulation, in my opinion, is that learners take an experience (any experience—not just healthcare) and begin to peel it apart themselves, challenge themselves, and best of all—question their own thinking and consider other perspectives. This teaching-learning strategy that we use in healthcare education—from prebrief to debrief—is designed to translate to professional practice where we try to consistently have better patient outcomes and become better practitioners/clinicians. But it’s also applicable to day-to-day interactions with people and those experiences as well. Believe it or not—I debrief my 4-year-old already using techniques taught to me by simulation experts (and it works). That’s the value of simulation pedagogy for me. It’s a teaching-learning strategy that impacts the way one thinks about the world and professional healthcare practice.

INACSL: How have the INACSL Standards of Best Practice impacted your simulation program?

Kyle: The INACSL Standards of Best Practice have assisted the TTUHSC Simulation Program in developing an internal mentoring program as well as graduate level coursework for students pursuing nursing education. Within my department, the standards have helped demonstrate the need for faculty development which is encouraged and supported by our administration. Our faculty received formal training in Debriefing for Meaningful Learning (DML) recently, and it really ignited our faculty to go deeper with simulation.

INACSL: In closing, what advice do you have for simulation educators?

Kyle: I think the best advice I have for simulation educators is to think about the end goal for simulation. If the end goal is knowledge gained about a specific simulated clinical scenario—then we must reckon with the literature that indicates knowledge decays as quickly as 4 weeks. Even CPR skills decay rapidly. Educators see this when we ask students, “Remember that simulation we were in a few weeks ago?” and many times, they look at you as though it never happened!!

However, if the end goal of simulation is a way of thinking--to have graduates of nursing programs leave a clinical situation and dissect the event, question themselves, seek perspective, cognitively rehearse how they might change practice and anticipate the next time they encounter something similar and ‘do better’ —we must learn to value the pedagogy of simulation rather than the ‘scenario’ alone. So much of the pedagogy in simulation, the best-practice, is found in the prebrief and debrief (which is why training is crucial!). If our goal is to help learners think differently than they did before and dedicate themselves to reflective practice—we must trust that our consistent practices of setting safe containers (and more) in prebrief—and unpeeling the thinking in debrief through role modeling critical conversation/Socratic questioning—changes the thought processes and patterns for clinical practice. It did for me. I know most of my teachers don’t know that because it happened after a long night shift of a stressful clinical situation involving therapeutic hypothermia, but that is what simulation did for this nursing student. I just didn’t realize it until later. So I ask myself when I debrief—am I debriefing this case for knowledge gained—or am I debriefing to impact how they practice and think from now on? Perhaps both—but I’ll emphasize the latter.