Comprehensive Instructor Workshop Revision

Don’t you love seeing those “lightbulb moments” while you’re teaching? That moment when a new concept finally makes sense for a student. At the Center for Medical Simulation (CMS), we want educators to experience that same sense of wonder, that “lightbulb moment,” that can only come from new understanding.

A curriculum should be dynamic – constantly developing to keep up with changing times, incorporating new teaching techniques, and ever striving to provide the best possible learning experience. It was in this spirit that CMS embarked on a major review and revision of the course that has meant so much to so many people over the years – our Comprehensive Instructor Workshop. The curriculum revision was led by Mary Fey, Demian Szyld, Walter Eppich and Jenny Rudolph. At the start, the lead team agreed on what “North stars” would guide the project. They were to: (1) demystify debriefing, (2) hold learners in positive regard, and (3) view our learners holistically.   Standing on the shoulders of those who came before us, the CMS faculty from Boston and around the world came together to complete the year-long project.

First, we surveyed course graduates from the previous 3 years. The survey helped us understand what the participants most valued from the course, other ideas in healthcare teaching and learning that had caught their attention, and how they were applying what they learned from us and others. Respondents also rank-ordered the course modules for their value to today’s simulation educator. The curriculum team then reviewed course evaluation data from those years. The messages were loud and clear: (a) learners wanted more opportunities to practice debriefing and get coaching from CMS faculty, and (b) learners highly valued their time spent designing and evaluating simulation cases. Armed with this data, our work began…

Next we convened interprofessional, international work groups of top simulation educators to refine existing modules, create new ones, update references, and redesign each day of the course. In March 2019, we instituted a soft launch of the new curriculum and the refined on-the-fly with faculty and learner feedback. By June 2019, our new curriculum was solid and we finalized slides and new course materials.

So what does this “new” course and instructional design look like?

What’s unchanged: it’s a transformative learning experience! We teach Debriefing with Good Judgment core – how to get curious, hold high standards and high regard, and use powerful conversational techniques like advocacy plus inquiry to enhance your debriefings. Class size remains small to ensure adequate time for individual attention from faculty. Participants work hard from Day #1.

What’s different: More practice in debriefing, more practice simulation design. Did we say more debriefing practice? Simulated debriefing, real debriefing, deconstruct the debrief all with coaching and repetition and more on specific debriefing “moves”. There are also multiple rounds of designing and running simulations.,

And, what feedback have we received? Faculty leading the new course love it. Course participants have also been resoundingly positive:

  •  “This is genuinely the best course I have done in many years. I feel the theories and methods I have learned (and had chance to practice) will genuinely improve my simulation and teaching in general.” June 2019
  • “The content and methods of delivery of the course were excellent and kept everyone engaged. The true strength though is the faculty – The knowledge, experience and ability to communicate sometimes complicated topics was inspirational.” June 2019
  • “The CMS Comprehensive Instructor course is conceived with exquisite detail to gain better understanding of the learner as well as the instructor. The course is provided with respect and understanding to both learners and instructors who have passion for truth, safety, and the advancement of improved outcomes in healthcare through simulation.” March 2019

We realized the new course needed a new name. CMS faculty from around the world settled on a name that we believe captures the essence of the course: Healthcare Simulation Essentials: Design and Debriefing. The new name will be officially rolled out in January 2020.

With this new course, we’re looking forward to many more years of helping to prepare the next generation of simulation educators while fulfilling our mission of using simulation to improve safety, quality and education in healthcare.

Mary Fey, PhD, RN, CHSE-A, ANEF
Senior Director, Teaching and Learning
Center for Medical Simulation