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Building Community through Collaboration at the Summer Simulation Twin Cities Exchange

Gao Vang

M Simulation recently hosted approximately 40 simulation professionals from Allina, Children's Minnesota, the Minneapolis VA Medical Center, St. Catherine University, CentraCare, and the U of M Duluth Medical School for the first ever Summer Simulation Share day. Lou Clark, PhD, MFA, executive director for M Simulation, organized the event as an opportunity for simulation professionals in the community to connect, share best practices, inspire one another, and build community.

The idea was born after this past January’s annual International Meeting on Simulation and Healthcare in Orlando where a large contingent of simulation professionals from Minnesota were in attendance. Krista Anderson, director for simulation at St. Catherine University, organized a “Minnesota dinner” where people were excited to connect, with some meeting for the first time in a different state. Clark learned this dinner of Minnesota simulation professionals was an annual tradition in past years but hadn’t been held since 2020. 

With the idea percolating throughout the spring semester of creating a similar event locally, Clark reached out to other directors with an invitation to gather informally at M Simulation in the Health Sciences Education Center. The group convened in July for a day of activities focused on connection and professional development.

“My colleagues in Minnesota are all deliberate and thoughtful in striving to create the safest possible training experiences and making those experiences top quality for learners. We share a passion for trying to make a great work environment, and that’s what this day was about: our teams,” added Clark.

Everyone was invited to bring an item or artifact that represented a simulation contribution they are proud of to add to a “simcubator”, a container of ideas that the group could shape together into art in order to visualize the future of simulation in Minnesota and beyond. There was a simulation world café where they held roundtable discussions to explore and identify challenges and opportunities for collaboration. The M Simulation team hosted two workshops: one facilitated by Clark on how to communicate through conflict, and the other facilitated by the Technical Simulation team on model and tissue making.

The Future of Simulation in Minnesota and Beyond

“It is always so energizing to come together as a community and learn about the great work that others are doing – this day sparked new ideas, fantastic conversations, and was a great avenue to explore potential collaboration opportunities,” said Amy Greminger, MD, assistant professor at the U of M Medical School, Duluth campus.

There is currently no regional simulation conference occurring in the Twin Cities.

“There was a genuine desire to connect. The recurring theme people shared was that of collaboration. Simulation professionals of Minnesota want to partner together and look for creative ways to share resources,” said Clark.

The group explored the possibility of developing a shared introduction to simulation course intended for new clinical faculty or partners working across sites.

“The Summer Sim Share Day was an incredible opportunity to collaborate with our simulation partners across the state of Minnesota,” said Kimberly Holmquist, MSN, RN, CHSE, from Allina Health Simulation. “New ideas and innovations were shared and new connections were made. It was a highly engaging day for all. We look forward to meeting again soon with this dynamic and energizing group of simulation professionals.”

Krista Anderson, MSN, RN, CHSE-A, simulation director of the Institute of Simulation and Interprofessional Learning at St. Catherine University added, “The career pathway of healthcare simulation education is a growing field and there is value in the networking and ability to learn from others. This event included experts from academic and healthcare organizations, providing opportunities to discuss challenges, learn tips and tricks, brainstorm with others, and collaborate to contribute to the future of simulation.”

Going forward, the idea is for area simulation centers to take turns hosting each year.

“I’m grateful to be a part of such a vibrant, innovative, and creative community of simulation professionals. If we can continue to collaborate in this way and share best practices, it's going to help our trainees and ultimately, their patients. It’s a ripple effect,” said Clark.

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