VISN 23 achieves first in simulation certification - VHA SimLEARN
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VISN 23 achieves first in simulation certification

By David J. Adriansen, Ed.D., NREMT
VISN 23 Simulation Champion
Minneapolis VA Health Care System

MINNEAPOLIS The Veteran Integrated Service Network (VISN) 23 Simulation Program established in 2008 has taken significant steps to advance its program. These efforts resulted in the recent upgrading of the VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System from the intermediate tier to advanced tier facility simulation center certification. Combined with the recent basic tier certification of the VA Central Iowa and VA Black Hills Health Care Systems, VISN 23 is now the first VHA network to have all their facility simulation centers certified by SimLEARN. VISN 23 hosts two of the seven advanced tier and six of the 33 basic tier simulation programs.

SimLEARN promotes the establishment and sustainment of simulation training center certification to provide VA medical centers (VAMC) the opportunity for participation and benefits derived from a national, VHA-recognized process that actively supports the highest quality in locally-delivered simulation-based clinical training. It also enables the continuity and sharing of simulation-based clinical training across VHA. Facility certification is a distinctive accomplishment which serves to strengthen the VHA National Simulation Network in increasing clinical work force skills, improving Veteran patient outcomes and supporting the ten essential strategies for the VHA Blueprint for Excellence.

The benefits of certification add value to both the delivery of training and health care quality at each facility.

These benefits include:

  • Ensuring prioritization of the essential strategies identified in the VHA Blueprint for Excellence to simulation center programs
  • Recognizing expertise in simulation
  • Improving health care simulation by providing standardization and knowledge of best practices
  • Strengthening the VHA National Simulation Network in increasing clinical workforce skills and improving Veteran patient outcomes
  • Encouraging the sharing of best practices through education within VHA
  • Providing validation of individual simulation programs
  • Reinforcing learner confidence in the quality of education, patient safety efforts and staff development
  • Furnishing a training environment that fortifies interdisciplinary team effectiveness
  • Validating facility operational strategies, simulation technologies and training methods
  • Enhancing staff recruitment and retention by offering leading edge technologies for training
  • Improving risk management and risk reduction
  • Demonstrating facility dedication to organizational credibility and continual process improvement

In addition to the certification success, VISN 23’s Omaha VAMC also became the first VA facility to host the first of five planned national SimLEARN Mobile Simulation Training Teams (MSTTs) in 2017. MSTT allows training of providers at all levels at geographically remote and rural facilities across a region, and the MSTT at Omaha is conducting a pilot evaluation with more MSTTs in the works.