Posts tagged ‘Nov/Dec 2012’

December 17, 2012

Society for Simulation in Healthcare SP Affinity Group Report

By Kris Slawinski

The SP Affinity Group (SPAG) Business Meeting at the 2012 IMSH was attended by approximately 40 SP Educators, which is double the number from 2011. Just prior to the conference I was asked to take over as chair of the SPAG by Susan Bonnell, who was elected at the 2011 meeting, and I invited Dena Higbee to join me as co-chair.

The SPAG mission, created at the 2011 meeting, is to “Promote, educate, and support the use of Standardized/Simulated Patients in all types of simulation supporting the goals of SSH in healthcare education, assessment and research.”

Goals to support the mission included:

  • Publish state of the art SP education methodology in the SSH Journal
  • Define standardized/simulated terminology and methodology
  • Advise and educate members of healthcare systems interested in SPs
  • Provide recommendations for high quality training/simulation
  • Provide expertise and knowledge to support and develop SP programs, hybrid simulation, and design and management of simulation events

At this year’s meeting we discussed how to accomplish these goals, and agreed that we need a way to provide guidelines, research, and best practices to SSH members. While much of this information is already available through ASPE, resources such as the SP Trainer list serve, information about how to make your simulations using SPs richer, and a broad overview of SPs (especially as we prepare for certification) would be useful. An online conduit for dispensing information was established this past summer at, featuring a variety of helpful links to resources for both the newbie and the experienced SP educator.

A pre-conference workshop was suggested to offer SP methodology, application and training for trainers and faculty alike. When the SPAG was asked this past summer to submit a proposal for an immersive workshop for 2013, Mary Cantrell stepped up to the plate and delivered. Another goal is to offer webinars or a handbook for SSH members on nuts and bolts issues of SP programs. We invite ASPE/SSH members to contact us with ready-to-present proposals, either tried and true, or new that would fit the bill.

To better understand who the SPAG membership is, a demographic survey was proposed to discover the range of members’ programs, institutions, learners, and types of simulations conducted, and to ask specifically what each member needs from the AG to grow and better serve their institution. This survey is in the process of being designed and should be ready this fall, with the goal of results to be presented at the 2013 SPAG Business Meeting.

The survey will also address an issue that has gained momentum recently: a common term for “standardized patient” that will satisfy both ASPE and SSH members. In the last ASPE News I mentioned Dr. Brian Hodges’ prescience in 2007 when he proposed that ASPE may soon need to adopt something more versatile and inclusive for the continually growing and changing field of simulation. To hold our place in forefront of the field of simulation we must be proactive about developing language that conveys education and training in human and non-human simulations. SPAG members will see a list of terms to choose from with the option of adding their own preferences. With so many creative, forward-thinking colleagues, we eagerly anticipate the results!

Since January the SPAG membership has grown to 51, and all SP educators planning to join SSH for the first time are urged to use the code “SPAG” when signing up so that the AG can be recognized for additional growth. I invite all of you to view the SPAG website (see link above) and submit your suggestions for resources to add. Anyone with a webinar that might fit our needs is invited to contact us as well. We look forward to seeing many of you at IMSH 2013!

Contact Kris Slawinski at 773-753-0520 or

Contact Dena Higbee at 573-884-8490 or

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