By: Sabrina Beroz
We have already discussed best practices, successes and challenges, and outcomes of simulation alliances and consortia. Now it is time to look to the future and talk about the certainty of change.
President John F. Kennedy told us that “change is the law of life.” He continued with the warning that “those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” With the advancement of simulation in the education of health care professionals, we can be certain that the science of simulation will expand through research and that standards will evolve. So, too, alliances and consortia will be at the forefront of change.
These initiatives vary in structure and the services they provide to meet the needs of the states and regions they represent. However, alliances and consortia share commonalities, and their leaders are collaborating to create a national network for dialogue on core topics. Following is a brief discussion of two of the more important topics under way at this time: sustainability and impact.
Let’s begin. Many simulation initiatives start with seed money from grants or foundations. The funding is often short lived with a discrete end point. Critical elements for the future require strategic planning to reduce risk to stakeholders and loss of organizational support. It is important to ask the following eight questions when considering the sustainability and impact of alliances and consortia (Jeffries, 2014):
- What are the benefits received from the initiative?
- What activities have had the greatest impact on results?
- What activities are not adding value?
- Are there gaps requiring additional activities/resources?
- Is your vision and mission relevant to sustain commitment from stakeholders?
- What assets are available?
- What blended funding options are available for continued success?
- Is there a structure or organization better suited to carry on the initiative?
Alliances and consortia answer these questions by developing evaluation plans to measure outcomes. They collect evaluations from constituents at regular intervals to identify benefits and gaps in the services they provide. Some gather data through focus groups with stakeholders to identify the needs of individuals and organizations, while others query steering or advisory committee representatives. Committee membership is reviewed for active participation and for representation of the mission and vision of the initiative.
Successful alliances and consortia develop business acumen and ask: “How will this initiative be sustained after initial funding?” Many diversify with blended approaches, such as membership fees, registration fees, outside funding, and partnerships. The future is bright for alliances and consortia. Working together, they will move the simulation agenda forward.
Jeffries, P. R. (Ed.). (2014). Clinical simulations in nursing education: Advanced concepts, trends, and opportunities. Washington, DC: National League for Nursing.