For ten years, the Advanced Instructor Course at the Center for Medical Simulation (CMS) has been helping simulation leaders look inward at their debriefing and faculty development skills to determine what techniques are working and where improvement is needed.
“The heart of the course is creating a structure where people are repeatedly given the chance to confront or explore their own cognitive routine within the context of where they work,” says Jenny Rudolph, PhD, Executive Director of CMS.
Jenny was a part of the original group that worked together to develop the Advanced Instructor Course at CMS. The team, made up of leaders in simulation, education, and organizational behavior, consisted of Robert Simon, PhD; Dan Raemer, PhD; Angela Aristidou, PhD; and Walter Eppich, MD, PhD. The first course was offered in 2009 to graduates of CMS’ Comprehensive Instructor Workshop (CIW) and Simulation as a Teaching Tool (SATT) course. While the CIW and SATT focus on exploring the frames of others, the Advanced Instructor Course builds upon those skills to help instructors reflect on their own behaviors.
“Instead of adding extra knowledge, they’re looking at their own ‘software,’ and asking, ‘how well is this software working for me?’ What parts of the software are awesome or good and what parts are buggy and need a tune-up,” explains Jenny.
For participants, three of the most valuable aspects of the Advanced Instructor Course (AIC) are:
- Repeated opportunities, from different experiences or angles, to reflect on your own practice
- Deliberate practice: practicing various skills with feedback
- The chance to confront your own inconsistencies or “to embrace your own hypocrisy”
“The content of the Advanced Course has been shaped by all the faculty that have taught in it,” explains Demian Szyld, MD, EdM, Senior Director of CMS’ Simulation Educator Training Program. Prior to joining CMS, Demian was the Medical Director of NYSIM and during that time he completed both the Comprehensive Instructor Workshop and the Advanced Instructor Course (AIC).
While taking the AIC, Demian found that the practice exercises the course introduced added to his faculty development toolkit: “…having the exercises in my pocket, for example, a two-column case analysis or a learning pathways grid, to help analyze my fellows, residents, or colleagues’ debriefing skills was super helpful; I got so much mileage out of that.”
The AIC helped shape Demian’s career and now he gets the opportunity to help others shape their own. Some graduates find the course content so useful that they re-take it years later. Asked what brings participants to the AIC for the first (or second time), Demian explains:
“It’s absolutely valuable to reenergize yourself as a reflective practitioner of Debriefing with Good Judgement, as an educator, and a person involved in faculty development. You’re with twenty other people practicing skills…you’ll pick up on their skills, generate new skills and build a community of practice.”
The Advanced Instructor Course is held twice per year at the Center for Medical Simulation in Boston. Although the course is intended for graduates of CMS’ Simulation Educator Training Programs, participants that have not taken the CIW or SATT can apply for an exemption if they can demonstrate significant debriefing experience and expertise.
To learn more about the Advanced Instructor Course or to register for an upcoming course, please visit: https://harvardmedsim.org/course/advanced-instructor-course-aic/