Does your Simulation Program have “Soul?”

Because I use Sim in Nepal and have been involved in scenario-based education, I have interviewed for about five nursing faculty jobs here in USA where they are looking for a person to run their Sim Lab. I visited a School of Nursing not too long ago where the corridors were sterile. You know the kind of place I mean – maybe you work at one. When I walk around such a place I can hear my own footsteps. Every door is the same and every person is dressed like a bank executive.

They showed me their learning lab. Outside, thirty students waited in a corridor – sitting on the floor because nobody thought to set chairs out there. Two huge bulletin boards – with nothing on them. A monotonous color scheme, nothing on the walls, everything very neat. (had it ever been used?)

I do not recall the source of this meme. It can be seen in many skills labs. Which one do you prefer?17390843_1499830790048183_2928056301606602728_o

Nursing students were doing scenarios with Sim Man, and I overheard one faculty member needing to stop the scenario to instruct the student on female catheterization technique. They were using Sim as a means of individual evaluation, no audience other than the faculty. Punitive overtones if you ask me. There was no nearby practice/pre-test prep area that I could discern.

Two international graduate students who looked like they were Somali, sat at a table reading. They were there to work with the undergraduates, but – they didn’t seem to be interacting at all.

Are we having fun yet?

It reminded me of this:


When this dynamic is ingrained into a corporate culture, it is difficult to overcome


Yes folks, the literature of Scenario-based education is replete with examples of joyous learning described as “transformative.” But – your school can invest in all the manikins, build a multi-million-dollar Skill and Sim suite, and – still not “get it.”

I’ll admit, during the tour I started to compose a list of strategies that might help them grow. The faculty had a comfort zone – it was just not in the right place.

I guess my question is, “what are we teaching the students when the environment is like this?”

We’re teaching them they don’t really matter. They are cogs in a corporate machine and we are teaching them to say “Do you want fries with that?” When we adopt the micro-managing of interpersonal behavior, we now control how they interact. Because of closed circuit cameras and two-way mirrors we now have the capability to document whether the person is smiling enough.

Consistency is a goal, but – does that also mean “conformity?”

Got Soul?

A simulation/scenario-based education program needs to have a certain joie de vivre in order to capture the student’s imagination and engage their passion. Help them love nursing not dread it. That’s what I call “soul.”

Here is the point where we all go look it up and present the dictionary definition. Soul is not strictly a religious term. For a bit of edge I always seek definitions at Urban Dictionary.


having an outstanding aura, with a brilliant and loving attitude.
Being exceptionally well at a task.
Completeing a task with an indellible inquisitive nature or spiritual quality.
I love this job I do it well cause I got soul.


Here’s another one:


Technically: a religious concept of an immortal individual conciousness, the mind superimposed on an invisible and supposedly indestructible and universal substance called “spirit.”
Colloquially: authenticity, style, or passion. Used almost exclusively in expressions similar to “he’s got soul,” often used to refer to individual (e.g. improvisational) expression in music styles such as jazz.
Also, a harmonically simple, often syncopated, style of music made by black people such as James Brown, usually played by small groups, though occasionally involving horn sections, related to funk and rock and always having vocals. This music is claimed to embody the above characteristic.
Everything they did, seemed designed to remove the authenticity, style and passion.
They didn’t offer me the job.
Not sure I wanted it, after all. 
Next blog entry? Part Two is live as of Monday Dec 5th. The title?  How to Get Soul if Your lab doesn’t have it.  Here is the link:

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