Community College Challenges: Scholarship

Over at SimTalkBlog, there’s an article about funding challenges that simulation programs face at community colleges. The article is based on a white paper (see end of article for link) presented to the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH) and the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning (INACSL).

An angle of the white paper that we find interesting is about Research and Scholarship at community colleges. According to the surveyed institutions, one of the challenges in this area is that while research is important so that institutions have data to support simulation efforts, limited support exists for community college faculty participation in conferences, research, and publication.


Research at community colleges is conducted at less than half of the respondents’ simulation centers or laboratories. If research is conducted, it is informal or action research, and very little of that gets published. Most community college faculty face barriers to participate in research activities. They are expected to spend most of their workload involved in classroom teaching. Very few community colleges encourage engagement in scholarship activities.


“All simulation faculty completeing the survey belong to at least one simulation organization.” The majority belong to only one organization, with less than 40 percent of the respondents belonging to two or more. One of the barriers is, of course, membership fees. More than half of community college simulation faculty pay out of pocket for membership fees, and most also pay at least partly out of pocket for conference attendance.

This seems like a good opportunity to remind our readers that SimPOW has no membership fees associated with it, or minimum participation rules of attendance. We hope you can join us for our next meeting, on April 14, at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Email for more information!

Entering the Realm of Simulation: An Educator’s Perspective

by Dana Bargerstock, RN, MSN

The decision to complete an RN-MSN program led me to Robert Morris University, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and into healthcare simulation at the Research and Innovation in Simulation Education (RISE) Center. I was part of an initial expansion where part-time instructors were hired to supplement a growing simulation schedule, even though at the time, I had zero simulation experience.

What I did have was previous technical and computer experience, which would prove to be extremely helpful in the world of simulation. I joined a team that had implemented the simulation program at RMU from its conception.

During the mentorship program for the first year of employment, I began learning immediately by reading recommended articles on simulation and debriefing, familiarizing myself with INACSL standards, and observing existing simulation classes with my mentor. I had a notebook full of notes by the end of the first semester.

What I found was everyone had an exponential amount of information in their brains where no one else could see it. I personally felt that I had a multitude of unanswered questions and although I knew the general subject matter of the day’s events I had no detailed plan, which I felt I needed.

The turning point came when I completed classes in Healthcare Simulation and Management offered by Robert Morris University as a graduate certificate.

What I Learned

  • Ways to design and manage simulations
  • Create lesson plans
  • Perform debriefing
  • Orient new simulation instructors
  • Operate a simulation center

I was able to identify key ingredients we were missing in our lesson plans, initiate a new employee onboarding process, and implement programs for quality control.

Our lesson plans have been updated with all details, and anyone should be able to follow the lesson plan and deliver a consistent experience for learners. It has been two and a half years since I have entered the world of simulation. I continue to learn every day and try to keep up on research, attend conferences, and stay relevant in simulation technology.

My suggestions for inexperienced simulation instructors or for those that have an interest in simulation is to complete some type of formal education on simulation, read the literature, understand INACSL standards, practice debriefing, and to have the confidence to speak up when fresh eyes notice needed improvements.

To stay up-to-date on the latest topics in healthcare education and simulation, subscribe to SimTalk blog, join WhatsAPP to learn about SimPOW meetings.

Dana Bargerstock, RN, MSN, is a simulation educator and the Operations Manager of the RISE Center at RMU.

SimPOW Heads to Ohio

The February session of SimPOW is Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Attendance is free, and lunch is provided.

Faculty from Franciscan University will be presenting information about nursing, technology, and practical innovations in simulation.

Event Agenda

The meeting is in the nursing department in Stafford/Egan Hall. Parking is available next to the building. Once everyone is settled in and has had some lunch, presentations will start at 11:30 a.m.

First up, Richard Antinone and Catherine Recznik will discuss how to enhance your nursing or allied healthcare program with simulation.

Then, at 12:30, faculty from Franciscan University will present a demonstration entitled: “Running Sim on a Shoestring: Innovations in simulation with a limited budget.”

Questions and wrap up will close out the meeting. CE credits are available. RSVP by February 16, 2018, by emailing

We look forward to seeing you there!

More Than Educators

The December SimPOW meeting examined ways to advance healthcare and medical simulation. Speakers included Pocket Nurse CEO and President Anthony Battaglia, MS, RN, and John O’Donnell, CRNA, MSN, DrPH. O’Donnell was awarded the 2017 Nurse Educator of the Year by Pittsburgh Magazine.

Anthony’s subject was “More than educators: Identifying opportunities to advance simulation and yourself.” He told stories as a former nurse and an entrepresnuer about learning to develop new simulation resources for educational advancement.

John spoke on “The Simulation Explosion,” presenting the top literature, best practices, and latest innovations in simulation. He then lead the open discussion on program and simulation evaluation.

The meeting took place at the Pocket Nurse facilities in Monaca, PA. Please view the video below to see the talks.

The next SimPOW meeting is Saturday, February 24th, at Franciscan University in Steubenville, OH. Stay tuned for details!

What would you like to see on the SimPOW agenda?

What is SimPOW?

SimPOW is an alliance of healthcare educators and medical simulation users in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. We have no fees and no attendance commitments. We just ask for enthusiasm about simulation in education and a willingness to meet others to share best practices and ideas.

Objectives of SimPOW

  • Benefit healthcare simulation users in the tri-state area (western PA, northwestern WV, and eastern OH)
  • Advance the use of evidence-based practices in simulation to improve education and, ultimately, patient safety
  • Serve as a resource for each other to facilitate simulation and share ideas

Participant Expectations

Mindful of the difficulty of other regional alliances, we propose an almost no-cost approach to SimPOW. We use WhatsAPP to announce meetings, ask questions, and share ideas. This communication method has been successful for others in our community, such as INACSL/CAE fellowship members. To learn more about this no-cost method of communication, see the WhatsApp site here and follow the directions to sign up.

So far, SimPOW has had two free conferences. The first was hosted by Suzie Kardong-Edgren, Ph.D., RN, ANEF, SHSE, FSSH, FAAN, and director of the Regional Research in Simulation Education Center (RISE) at Robert Morris University. The second was hosted by Pocket Nurse®, a leading distributor and manufacturer of medical and healthcare simulation solutions. Pocket Nurse is owned and operated by Anthony Battaglia, MS, BSN, RN, and is starting its twenty-sixth year of successful operation.