INACSL: Tell us about your personal and professional background.
I grew up on a farm in a very small town in southern Indiana. In 2005, I obtained my Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing and a minor in Exercise Science from Indiana University. While attending Indiana University, I met the love of my life and we were married in 2007. We have two young boys, 11 and 8 years old. After completing my BSN, I accepted a job in the operating room at Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis, IN. After working in the OR for two years, I joined the cardiovascular team where I participated in multiple heart transplants and was selected to travel to Uganda, Africa with a medical mission team. After completing missions in 2008 and 2014, I received the Paul Harris award from the Greenfield Rotary Club for outstanding commitment to community service.
INACSL: How did you become interested in simulation?
During my 10 years working in the Operating Room, I was often asked to train new employees and medical students. We trained new OR members at the Simulation Center at Fairbanks Hall. At first, I worked in the simulation center on a volunteer basis, but after a few sessions was offered a paid position. After a year of working both at the Simulation Center and in the OR, I made the decision to devote 100 percent of my time to Simulation Education.
INACSL: Explain your current role in simulation. Please elaborate.
The mission of our center is to be at the forefront of patient care to create, apply and share the best practice in healthcare education and delivery by replicating the patient care environment where learners can apply knowledge, skills, and attitudes in an interprofessional approach. In my current role as a simulation operations project manager, I oversee daily operations and support educational activities through preparation- set-up, running, and tear down of events. I assist in developing strategies to enhance programs and services and collaborate with partner facilitators during simulation activities. I also manage supply ordering and maintain the staff schedule. Another important duty as a simulation project manager is to identify opportunities for improvement, innovation, implementation, and integration of patient simulation technology into existing health curricula.
I joined INACSL in 2018 and became a member of the HomeGrown Solutions Committee. In 2019, I became Vice Chair, and in 2020 took over as committee Chair. As the committee chair, I was a moderator for the 2020 INACSL Conference. I also had two presentations on behalf of INACSL at SimGHOSTS 2020- “How Can HomeGrown Solutions Help You” and “Using the Revised INACSL Standards of Best Practice Simulation.” Most recently, I presented at the 2020 Indiana Nursing Summit- “HomeGrown Solutions.”
INACSL: How have the INACSL Standards of Best Practice impacted your simulation program?
The INACSL Standards of Best Practice have improved our center’s process for evaluating and enhancing simulation operations procedures. The standards have guided us to clearly communicate knowledge and ideas with consistent terminology. Our education committee used the SOBP to guide the development of an interprofessional peer review process.
INACSL: In closing, what advice do you have for simulation educators?
My greatest piece of advice is: don’t be afraid to get involved. In 2018, I was hesitant to join an international committee because I was coming from the operations side of simulation. I wondered if I would be able to contribute “enough.” However, I had an amazing mentor, who is very involved in the Simulation Community, and she encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and put myself out there. Joining the HomeGrown Solutions Committee is by far one of the best career decisions I have ever made. Through networking I have not only met individuals involved with INACSL, but also members of SimGHOSTS and SSH. My role with INACSL has provided me with confidence to speak up, submit abstracts to conferences, and realize that I do have the power to make a difference in the Simulation world. It has helped me to find a sense of belonging within the Simulation Community.
Second, always keep your goals and objectives at the forefront. I know this is common knowledge, but coming from the operations side I see how it can easily become an oversight. In simulation it’s easy to throw in all the most expensive bells and whistles. However, there are several financially responsible alternatives to help achieve one’s goals and objectives and HomeGrown Solutions is a great resource to help meet these needs.