Simulation Champion Programme for European nurse educators in Lahti University of Applied Sciences

Simulation Champions
International simulation educator intensive programme for European nurse educators was organized in Lahti University of Applied Sciences (Lahti UAS) in June 2017. The programme (5 ECT) aimed to enable participants to design, implement and evaluate simulation education in higher education, in an effort to equip them with the skills, knowledge and competences to act as simulation champions in their respective entities.

All together Simulation Champion week had 20 participants from 10 different higher education organizations from Malta, Norway, United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy and Finland. Some of the participants are just getting started with the simulation education in their organizations and part of the participants are already expert level simulation educators. 

Simulation is a technique for practice and learning that can be applied to many different disciplines and trainees. It is a method to replace and amplify real experiences with guided ones. In simulation education, it is possible to create authentic scenarios from real-life situations. The learning is learner centered, experiential and engaging. Simulation-based education has potential to develop future professionals’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes, whilst learning these skills in safe environment. Simulation offers a new inspirational way to teach and learn competencies like clinical judgement, ethical decision making, team work and leadership skills. An integral, and possibly the most important component, of the simulation-based learning is the debriefing. During the learning discussion, the theory is connected to practice and reflection, critical thinking, clinical reasoning take place and learning is maximized. Debrief is facilitated by an educator who can devote enough concentrated attention during the simulation to effectively debrief the simulation-based experience. It is essential that the debrief facilitator receives formal training, feedback, assessment, and ongoing experience to ensure competency to create the safe learning environment and implement effective debriefings.

Innovative teaching and learning methods for nursing education 

The pedagogical education was organized in co-operation with Malta University and it was one outputs of Erasmus+ Innovative – Simulation Pedagogy for Academic Development (iSPAD) –project. Malta University is the leading partner. The project aims to develop innovative teaching methods using simulation to enhance key competencies of nursing students and to develop educators' competencies in simulation education. On important outcome is to train identified members of staff (Simulation Champions), share experience and  knowledge  pertaining to the use of simulation and to develop a kit comprising three  simulation resources to be tested and evaluated. Pedagogical education was planned together with Malta University and the trainers were Lahti UAS Simulation Center SimuLti simulation experts Eveliina Kivinen and Jukka Karjalainen. From Lahti UAS there was also two educators participating the education Anna Romakkaniemi and Virpi Liljeström

”Simulation Champion Programme for nurse educators is a new pedagogical educational product, which will be certified in Malta University. The education is five ECTS course containing e-learning and contact education. Malta University and Lahti UAS have now the possibility to offer this education in their global education services. We are always very excited to co-operate, develop simulation pedagogy, simulation environments and co-operate in faculty development practices related to simulation education in international co-operation with new partners”, says Eveliina Kivinen from Lahti UAS. 

Jukka Karjalainen, the other responsible person of the programme states that, “the international education week for participants interested in simulation education has been important, fun and meaningful experience. All together, the week was a success and everyone seemed to be very pleased with the experience.”

Why Finland, why Lahti UAS? 

”Malta University asked us to take the lead of this part of the project and it has been one of the highlights of this year. The co-operation with Malta University has been excellent. To have this responsibility to Finland and in Lahti UAS has been dream come true in professional manner, but also a proof for the fact that finnish pedagogical expertise is valued in international context. Through the professional expertise and our experiences, we are able to demonstrate our skills and knowledge in simulation education development. We have also learned a lot and there is plenty of research material gathered to learn even more. Just waiting those long hours behind the desk to be able to write about this. We will be also traveling for international conferences to share the experience and the research findings,” says Eveliina and Jukka. 

“Participating the programme has been a useful and great experience. We have been using simulation method in Italy, but we have no experience using debriefing discussions. The implementation of the programme has over exceed all my expectations. It has been great to discuss with the other educators and to gain understanding about how simulation is used in other European countries. It feels meaningful to be able to participate in nursing education development. I will use the skills and knowledge I have learned with third year nursing students and in interprofessional simulation education “ says Cristina Niro from Italy. 

Eveliina Kivinen
Senior Lecturer
eveliina [dot] kivinenatlamk [dot] fi