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‘SON’ Brings Unique Services to SimLEARN Family

By Sherri Boisvert PhD., MSN, RN and Michelle Regragui MSHS, BSN, RN
Simulation Outreach Network Simulation Nurse Educators
VHA SimLEARN National Simulation Center

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Simulation Outreach Network or SON team is part of the SimLEARN family and offers unique services. The services consist of Field-Based Simulation Experiences (FBSE), Systems/Hospital Activations (SHA), Rural Health (RH), as well as a research arm. FBSE brings simulation experiences and process improvement initiatives to VA facilities, and FBSE can be intertwined throughout both systems/hospital activations and rural health projects, as well as an event to support an individual facility’s simulation training needs.

In December 2019 the Memphis VA Medical Center (VAMC) in Tennessee reached out to the SON requesting assistance developing cardiac rhythm recognition training that would incorporate simulation-based activities. The SON associate director reviewed the request and gave approval for the project. Preparation included an initial call to collect information for a needs analysis to identify the training gap. The needs analysis revealed a gap in knowledge related to cardiac rhythm recognition and response time. The SON and Memphis VAMC nursing education team collaborated to determine roles, responsibilities, scenario content and a project timeline. A bimonthly meeting was scheduled to monitor the project progress and to ensure the content remained in alignment with the identified learning objectives. These meetings were attended by key stake holders to ensure evidence-based practice and facility policies were followed. Cardiac rhythm scenarios were collaboratively developed and reviewed, and adjustments were made for specific facility needs.

To prepare the Memphis VAMC nursing education team to deliver the newly developed scenarios, SON members traveled to the Memphis facility. A brief interactive overview of simulation as a learning modality was conducted, and a review of simulation basics, such as providing a safe environment and subscribing to the basic assumption of simulation (Center for Medical Simulation, 2020). Best practices were reviewed for facilitation of a pre-brief, development and implementation of a scenario, modality choice and debriefing principles. Time was dedicated to determining which of the modalities (a patient simulator mannequin, an Advanced Life Support (ALS) mannequin, or cardiac rhythm generator) would best meet the objectives and unit specific needs. The remainder of the course was hands-on practice in preparation for delivery of in-situ simulation scenarios.

This practice allowed the nursing education team to get comfortable facilitating pre-briefing, scenario development and debriefing. A guided question and answer session addressed implementation concerns and next steps. The nursing education team responsibilities included providing the training and development of an evaluation and sustainment plan for training nurses utilizing the simulation scenarios.

Recommendations to enhance the course included collaboration with the facility simulation coordinator to assist with the delivery of the scenarios. Other recommendations included attending simulation-based education courses, establishment of a sustainment plan for simulation program, encouraging facility communication and adoption of the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning (INACSL) Standards of Best Practice. Simulation feedback shared from the nursing education team on their class experiences included strongly recommending the course to others, while others found the information “extremely useful,” which increased confidence in new technology teaching trends, and the ability to implement the material in a practical manner. The SON team shared recommendations including on-going mentoring and 60- to 90-day follow-up of course impact.

The success of this course is based on the collaboration between the SON team and Memphis Facility. The SON team would like to thank the Memphis nursing education team and simulation coordinator for the opportunity to collaborate on this project and to help SON extend simulation educational opportunities across VA.


Basic Assumption. (2020). Retrieved April 2, 2020, from

Dunning, D. F. (JUNE 19, 2017). Remote Cardiac Telemetry Monitoring. Memphis: VA Medical Center.

INACSL Standards Committee:(2016, December). INACSL standards of best practice: Simulation Facilitation. Clinical Simulation in Nursing, 12(S), S16 – 20.

INACSL Standards Committee (2016, December). INACSL standards of best practice: Simulation Debriefing. Clinical Simulation in Nursing, 12(S), S21 -S25.