Simulations Specialist Leora Wright was selected to receive the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH) Operations Specialist of the Year award for 2023. The award honors “a member of the operations specialist community who functions beyond the scope of their position, demonstrates superior initiative and creativity, actively promotes the profession, and has a record of advanced training” Wright will receive the award in January, at the IMSH 2024 conference in San Diego.

According to Ashley Grossman, SSH’s director of membership, the Simulations Operations and Technology Section (SOTS) Nominations Workgroup reviewed many qualified nominees, and Wright emerged as the clear winner. “It is plain to see that Wright had an impact on Simulation throughout the state and across the globe,” added Grossman.

Wright began working as an IT specialist in the College of Nursing in 2009 and took on the role of simulation specialist in 2019, when the College moved to its current location off Donahue Drive. She graduated from West Georgia Technical College in LaGrange, Ga, in information technology.

As a simulation specialist, Wright’s primary role is the implementation and delivery of a simulation activity through the application of simulation technologies such as, computers, audio-visual, or networking technologies and operation of a variety of manikins.

“All my training in simulation technology has been ‘learning on the job’. I am now completing my bachelor’s degree in healthcare simulation from the Carolinas College of Health and Science in Charlotte, N.C.”

“A typical day for me is playing ‘side kick’ to my amazing teammates,” Wright added. “Every day is different, with Sim days being the busiest. I get to the lab early, set up the manikins and perform sound checks. I make sure everyone who will be voicing a manikin for Sim is comfortable with their job that day and train them on anything they aren't sure about.”

Another part of simulation Wright enjoys is to design and create new models to be used for future trainings. “I love building things and it's also one of the features I love about working in simulation. For example, over the holiday I will be making some homemade "stop the bleed" simulators for our Nurse Practitioner faculty member, Robin Farrell. The fun never stops!”

“This is one more example of the amazing team we have at AUCON,” said Meghan Jones, associate clinical professor and director of clinical simulation and skills at AUCON. “Leora’s spirit of creativity and innovation drives her to function beyond the scope of her position while providing superior simulation support, promoting the profession of simulation operations at our institution and beyond, and continuing her own professional development. She embodies the spirit of a simulation operations specialist by performing her role without restriction to simulation modality, geographic location, or learner population. If the faculty can dream it, Leora will find a way to build it. The EAGLES Center would not function at its current level of success without her, and we are excited for her to receive this well-deserved recognition by SSH.”

The Simulation Center provides healthcare professionals the opportunity to use a variety of simulation modalities to practice procedures and clinical patient care situations in a safe learning environment. The state-of-the-art simulation suite includes rooms that mimic actual hospital, clinic, and community settings. The environment is made real by the availability of functioning patient monitors, hospital beds, IV pumps, etc. and a variety of disposable supplies. Each room is outfitted with audio-visual technology that allows sessions to be recorded and reviewed by participants to reflect on their performance.