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Facility Simulation Certification: One Step in the HRO Journey

By: Lygia Lee Arcaro, PhD, RN, National Director, Nursing Programs, SimLEARN

The VA HRO (High Reliability Organization) Pillars, Principles, and Values depicts the vision of “affirming the trust of Veterans and their families through the achievement of zero harm and an unmatched experience.” VA is on a continuous journey, incorporating the concepts of HRO into our culture. Using simulation to demonstrate the principles of HRO, the five principles are a preoccupation with failure, sensitivity to operations, reluctance to simplify, commitment to resilience, and deference to expertise. Through simulated clinical situations interprofessional staff practice teamwork and communication skills, as they anticipate the risks then simulate and test what could go wrong and use this information to strengthen best practices.

Facility simulation certification is part of the HRO journey. SimLEARN had developed a program structured to support simulation-based training at the local level and encourage facilities to access curricula and think about partnering opportunities. This approach is designed to support standardization by having criteria that involve the most current knowledge of the scenario(s) being simulated or developed, using up to date educational practices and evaluation strategies, equipment, competent staff, and the commitment to continually move simulation forward in VHA. Facility certification continues to grow providing continuity within our simulation sites across the enterprise. This process demonstrates “commitment to quality improvement, patient safety, and accountability to improving Veteran patient outcomes,” as mentioned in the introductory certification letter.

This month the updated Facility Simulation Certification website is going live with a more streamlined application process and 8 weeks for submission of the application at the basic, intermediate, or advanced level. The call for applications opens the week of July 19th and closes on September 13th. To ensure the highest standards our process follows, all applications are reviewed and the facilities applying for the advanced level of certification have a virtual site visit that includes meeting with the facility Quadrad/Pentad, a tour of the simulation spaces, and observation of simulation classes with live or recorded scenarios. SimLEARN’s review team members hold a virtual meet and greet with the faculty and instructors to find out about their role in the simulation program.

SimLEARN encourages all facilities to apply for certification as part of the HRO journey. Interested in more details for certification? Access this link (accessible to VA employees only) for learning more about the program and instructions for applying: SimLEARN Community of Practice - Facility Simulation Certification ( Follow the directions for downloading the required forms and uploading the completed documents.

On behalf of SimLEARN, thank you for moving simulation forward in VHA!