Part of WISER’s mission is to support the training and skill development of healthcare simulation professionals from around the world. A natural extension of this goal, as well as WISER’s 27 years of simulation experience, is the creation of WISER Academy. This academic initiative provides professional development opportunities to all kinds of healthcare simulation professionals. WISER is currently expanding the institution’s continuing education offerings with the newly established WISER Academy and upcoming “Essentials for Simulation Center Management” course.
This upcoming course is targeted toward new managers or leaders of simulation centers, or those with aspirations to move into a leadership role at a simulation center. These essentials are broken down into three areas of focus: 1) Leadership & Strategic Planning of a Simulation Center, 2) Operations Management, and 3) Administrative Management. The “Essentials for Simulation Center Management” course will be available in summer 2021. Contact WISER for more information on academy courses.
The initial two courses launched were focused on simulation operations specialists, TechSim and debriefing for simulation specialists. Many have registered for these offerings and have found them to be quite informative and engaging, according to WISER. During these courses, WISER Director Dr. Paul E. Phrampus, MD, FACEP, FSSH, explores such topics as choosing the appropriate location for a debriefing session, pre-session checklists, using resources in debriefing, and preparing technology to support a debriefing session.
WISER Academy began with a re-envisioned TechSim, which is available now. TechSim is an online training program designed to educate healthcare simulation operation specialists (HSOS) on the key tasks associated with the daily operations and maintenance of a simulation center. This course can be completed online at your own pace, and provides you with 15 hours of continuing professional development credits.
Next, the academy created “Debriefing for Simulation Specialists”. This course is fully dedicated to the role that a simulation specialist performs during debriefings. Dr. Paul Phrampus reviews various debriefing modalities, what to anticipate when conducting or supporting debriefing sessions, and expands upon the essential need for debriefing and its benefits to the simulation experience.
Recently, Christa Brown, MA, joined WISER as its director of educational development – bringing with her decades of experience in instructional design and adult learning — to oversee the development of courses and other educational activities. She uses a variety of teaching methods, training modalities, and assessments to create engaging content, including online learning.
Under her leadership, topics include Your Center’s Vision and Mission, Program Design, and Strategic Relationships. Other topics include Policies and Procedures, Areas of Center Design and Support, Staffing, and Financing Your Center’s Programs. Understanding the needs of the adult learner, the course utilizes multiple learning modalities, such as videos, interactive learning modules, and worksheets to provide an engaging experience for participants.
Before expansion, the WISER facility was previously a one-room simulation center in a closet in the basement of the hospital, next to the crematorium. Over the course of the past three decades, WISER has graduated to a 20,000 sq. foot facility with eight satellite centers in hospitals around the Western Pennsylvania region. Annually, WISER supports over 2,000 courses and almost 20,000 educational encounters and nearly 7,000 unique participants. Additionally, several of WISER staff have been with the organization since its fledgling years, including:
- WISER Director, Dr. Paul E. Phrampus, MD, FACEP, FSSH (former SSH President, current member of Editorial Board of Simulation in Healthcare, former co-chair IMSH)
- Sr. Associate Director, Dr. John O’Donnell, CRNA, MSN, DrPH, FSSH (SSH Board of Director Treasurer, former co-chair IMSH, and Vice Chair of Meetings Oversight Committee)
- Director of Operations, Tom Dongilli, AT, CHSOS-A, FSSH (former co-chair IMSH, Lead Author for SSH’s Simulation in Healthcare Policies and Procedures manual)
More About WISER
The Winter Institute for Simulation Education and Research (also known as WISER) is a world class multidisciplinary healthcare simulation training and research facility at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. A UPMC institute, the WISER Simulation Center’s mission is to conduct research and training programs using clinical simulation-based education to increase patient safety at the UPMC and the school’s affiliates. The UPMC WISER facility is directed by Dr. Paul Phrampus, MD, who is also a professor in the Departments of Emergency Medicine and Anesthesiology at the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine.
In addition to improving patient safety, the facility is dedicated to the advancement of healthcare simulation and education to promote education, mentorship, systems design and research to enhance the high quality delivery of healthcare. To achieve this outcome, WISER works to enhance patient safety through state-of-the-art educational and assessment methodologies and techniques. The facility also creates innovative education programs for healthcare providers ranging from students through practicing professionals.