Home Article
International Journal of Healthcare Simulation
Mapping the terrain of simulation faculty development: protocol for a scoping review

DOI:10.54531/cyyj5100, Pages: 1-6
Article Type: Protocol, Article History


This scoping review aims to examine and map the current state of faculty development for healthcare simulation educators. This review will include an exploration of the range and type of faculty development programs designed to enhance simulation-based education (SBE).


Simulation has become a staple method for educating health professionals, but no standard approaches exist for training simulation instructors, both for initial training and ongoing professional development. As this education modality continues to expand, there is a need to better understand what interventions and approaches improve the knowledge, skills, abilities and other attributes (KSAOs) for those who are responsible for the design, delivery and evaluation of simulation-based educational sessions.

Inclusion criteria

This scoping review will consider empirical research and other relevant published works that address faculty development for simulation educators in health professions education. This will include faculty development interventions, conceptual and theoretical frameworks, recommendations for implementation and other discussions of issues related to faculty development for SBE. These may include experimental, quasi-experimental, observational, qualitative studies, commentaries and perspectives.


The following electronic databases will be searched: Medline (Ovid); EMBASE (Ovid); CINAHL (EBSCO); ERIC (EBSCO); PsycInfo (Ovid); and Web of Science without time limits. Reference lists of eligible studies will be back-searched, and Google Scholar and Scopus will be used for forward citation tracking. The findings will be summarized in tabular form and a narrative synthesis, to inform recommendations and areas for future research and practice.

Gardner, Steinert, Rodgers, Rohra, Peterson, Viggers, Davis, Condron, Eppich, Ouellette, and Reedy: Mapping the terrain of simulation faculty development: protocol for a scoping review


Simulation has become a backbone of health professions education. The successes of this experiential learning modality have elicited an ample literature base and its own dedicated peer-reviewed journals (e.g. Simulation in Healthcare; Clinical Simulation in Nursing; Advances in Simulation; International Journal of Healthcare Simulation) as well as academic and professional societies (e.g. Society for Simulation in Healthcare; Society in Europe for Simulation as Applied to Medicine; multiple national simulation societies) and their associated scientific conferences. Further, the growth in simulation has prompted numerous health professions education accreditation bodies to require simulation to be implemented in training programs across the globe [1–12].

With the increasing utilization and importance of simulation-based education (SBE), it is critical that effective, data-driven programs exist to train instructors in SBE. Unfortunately, much of the work that has been conducted on faculty development for SBE is constrained to just one topic: debriefing. While the simulation literature clearly highlights the importance and benefits of debriefing in SBE, and outlines guidance for training instructors how to debrief [13–18], this is just one of many critical competencies required to be a successful simulation educator. Unfortunately, little work has been described in the literature on more comprehensive simulation faculty development initiatives that cover a broader array of critical competencies and their effectiveness.

Understanding what interventions and approaches are currently being used to improve the knowledge, skills and effectiveness of instructors in SBE is an integral step for carving out the future of simulation. Knowing what works, when, for whom and why is critical to be able to map the nomological network of SBE and move the field toward. These data can help inform guidelines, recommendations and potential areas for future practice and scholarship.

We conducted a preliminary search of PROSPERO, MEDLINE, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and the JBI Evidence Synthesis and identified no current or pending scoping reviews or systematic reviews on the topic. Reviews have been published on particular aspects of simulation faculty development for health professions education, most notably debriefing [19–24]. As well, there are other reviews that cover a particular aspect relevant for simulation educators (e.g. assessment) with no particular focus on simulation faculty development for honing and maintaining these skills [25–28]. Still other reviews report on faculty development approaches in health professions education, but without a particular focus on SBE [29–31]. One review on simulation faculty development has been identified, but this review is almost 10 years old and was focused specifically on high-fidelity patient simulation [32].

Scoping reviews can be used to map the field, elucidate what is known and what remains to be investigated, review the levels of evidence in a particular field, outline methodologies used, be inclusive as to types of work considered and identify knowledge and research gaps [33–35]. This review aims to examine and map the existing methodologies, evidence and constructs pertaining to faculty development for SBE, as well as any reports on the effectiveness of these programs. The scoping review approach, in comparison to a systematic review, will allow us to identify all relevant literature regardless of study design [36].

Review question(s)

Our overall question for this review is: What interventions and approaches have been used to date to improve the knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics (KSAOs) of faculty in SBE? Additionally, we aim to map the key features of faculty development in SBE, including main content areas, methodologies and approaches used, program leaders and participants, outcomes assessed, demonstrations of transfer of training, and what conceptual and theoretical frameworks are used to inform the design and evaluation of these programs.

Conceptual framework

Scoping reviews aim to explore the contours and boundaries of knowledge in an emerging field; as such, the research team felt that a conceptual framework [37,38] would help us to organize our thinking about the task, as well as to help us make sense of the literature we hoped to find. This scoping review will use Steinert’s conceptual framework [39], which situates faculty development activities based on two axes: the approach, from formal to informal; and the context for learning, from individual to group. This model provides an organizing framework from which to explore the faculty development approaches present in the literature, as well as to help identify and articulate gaps in the existing literature base (Figure 1). The model has been widely cited in health professions education, and it also resonates with members of the research group: all faculty development programs identified by members of the research group were able to be situated on the matrix identified by the model.

The organizing conceptual framework for this review is Steinert’s (2010) mapping of faculty development activities, from workshops to communities of practice.
Figure 1:

The organizing conceptual framework for this review is Steinert’s (2010) mapping of faculty development activities, from workshops to communities of practice.

Inclusion criteria


Our review will consider studies spanning all of health professions education. This broad inclusion criteria will ensure key features, methodologies, and outcomes across contexts and learning aims are included.


This scoping review is designed to explore the breadth of faculty development in health professions education. Therefore, all literature that focuses on any aspect of faculty development for SBE will be included. This will not be limited to skills used directly with learners, but will also include any additional knowledge and skills required to be effective simulation instructors (e.g. scenario design, implementation, assessment). Research that focuses on faculty development for health professions educators, but not faculty development specifically for simulation educators (e.g. [30,31]), will not be included.


The context for this review will be international, with no limits. This can include any educational, clinical or geographical setting and studies published in any language.

Types of sources

This scoping review will consider research published in peer-reviewed journals as full manuscripts or conference abstracts, or in the grey literature (e.g. theses & dissertations). All empirical study designs will be considered, including experimental, quasi-experimental, observational and qualitative studies. Systematic reviews and narrative reviews will be excluded but their references will be back-searched.


We will conduct the proposed scoping review in accordance with the JBI methodology for scoping reviews [34,35].

Search strategy

The search strategy aims to identify both published and unpublished literature with no predefined timeframe.

Electronic database search

The following electronic databases will be searched: Medline (Ovid), EMBASE (Ovid), CINAHL (EBSCO), ERIC (EBSCO), PsycInfo (Ovid) and Web of Science. An initial limited search of MEDLINE (PubMed) was undertaken to identify articles on the topic. The text words contained in the titles and abstracts of relevant articles, and the index terms used to describe the articles, were used to develop a full search strategy for Medline (Appendix I). A similar search strategy will be customized appropriately for use in each database. Free-text terms will also be included, taking into account synonyms and variants in spelling. The search will not be limited by date or language to maximize the breadth of literature identified.

Citation searching

Reference lists of all included research studies and all relevant reviews will be back-searched, and Google Scholar will be used for forward citation tracking to identify further studies.

Study selection

All identified citations will be collated and uploaded into EndNote 20.2.1 (Clarivate Analytics, Philadelphia, PA, USA) and duplicates will be removed automatically and manually. Following deduplication, citations will be transferred to Covidence (Veritas Health Innovation, Melbourne, Australia). A pilot test will be performed by screening 50 titles/abstract jointly by all researchers, for consensus checking of the criteria and their application. Following this, titles and abstracts will be independently screened against the eligibility criteria by three researchers (CC, RD, AR) and by one member of the four-person review panel (AG, DTP, GR, SV). Any discrepancies will be resolved by a third member of the review panel. Following screening, the full text of potentially eligible studies will be retrieved and screened in full to determine eligibility by two reviewers. Any disagreements will be resolved by consensus with the review panel.

Full-text studies that do not meet the inclusion criteria will be excluded and reasons for exclusion will be documented and reported. The results of the search will be reported in full in the final scoping review and presented in a Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR) flow diagram.

Data extraction

Data will be extracted from the included papers using an iterative approach, given the anticipated diversity of the identified literature. The data extracted will include citation information; details about the population, concept and context; study methods; and key findings relevant to the review questions. A standardized data extraction instrument will be used in the Covidence system (Appendix II). This has been adapted from the JBI template data extraction instrument for source details, characteristics and results extraction [34], with modifications in relation to the concept of this scoping review. The draft results extraction instrument will be piloted on the first five papers and modified as necessary, and further revisions may be made during the process of extracting data from the remaining studies. Modifications will be detailed in the full scoping review. One review author will extract the data and a second review author will check extraction data. Where insufficient information is provided in the full paper for complete data extraction, the authors will be contacted to provide additional information.

Data analysis and presentation

The extracted data will be collated and summarized after descriptive and thematic analyses. The data will be mapped and presented in a diagrammatic or tabular form to assist in answering the research questions. A narrative summary will accompany the results and will describe how the results relate to the review objective and questions. The findings will be discussed as they relate to practice and education. Gaps and limitations of the current literature will also be identified and presented.


We will undertake this scoping review for two primary reasons. Our first goal is to synthesize the existing literature on faculty development for the simulation education community, providing conceptual, theoretical and evidentiary clarity about how to develop and maintain expertise as healthcare simulation educators. Second, and equally important, we aim to identify gaps and areas for future research where a high-quality evidence base is lacking. In this way, we hope that our scoping review will help to define the research agenda for faculty development in simulation education for the coming years.



None declared.

Authors’ contributions

None declared.


None declared.

Availability of data and materials

None declared.

Ethics approval and consent to participate

None declared.

Competing interests

None declared.



Perry S, Burrow M, Leung W, Bridges S. Simulation and curriculum design: a global survey in dental education. Australian Dental Journal. 2017 Jul 6;62(4):453463.


Higham H, Baxendale B. To err is human: use of simulation to enhance training and patient safety in anaesthesia. BJA: British Journal of Anaesthesia. 2017 Dec 1;119(suppl_1):i106i114.


Palaganas JC, Brunette V, Winslow B. Prelicensure simulation-enhanced interprofessional education: a critical review of the research literature. Simulation in Healthcare. 2016 Dec;11(6):404418.


Kurashima Y, Hirano S. Systematic review of the implementation of simulation training in surgical residency curriculum. Surgery Today. 2017 Jul;47(7):777782.


Paige JT, Garbee DD, Brown KM, Rojas JD. Using simulation in interprofessional education. Surgical Clinics. 2015 Aug;95(4):751766.


Battista A, Nestel D. Simulation in medical education. Understanding Medical Education: Evidence, Theory, and Practice, 3rd edition. 2019:151162.


Jeffries P. Simulation in nursing education: from conceptualization to evaluation. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. 2020.


Jeffries PR, Dreifuerst KT, Kardong-Edgren S, Hayden J. Faculty development when initiating simulation programs: lessons learned from the national simulation study. Journal of Nursing Regulation. 2015 Jan 1;5(4):1723.


Lemoine JB, Chauvin SW, Broussard L, Oberleitner MG. Statewide interprofessional faculty development in simulation-based education for health professions. Clinical Simulation in Nursing. 2015 Mar 1;11(3):153162.


Gallagher CJ, Tan JM. The current status of simulation in the maintenance of certification in anesthesia. International Anesthesiology Clinics. 2010 Jul 1;48(3):8399.


Steadman RH, Burden AR, Huang YM, Gaba DM, Cooper JB. Practice improvements based on participation in simulation for the maintenance of certification in anesthesiology program. Anesthesiology. 2015 May;122(5):11541169.


Surgery ABo. General surgery – training requirements 2017 [Description of surgery training requirements in the USA.]. Available from: https://www.absurgery.org/default.jsp?certgsqe_training. Accessed 1 March 2022.


Cheng A, Grant V, Dieckmann P, Arora S, Robinson T, Eppich W. Faculty development for simulation programs: five issues for the future of debriefing training. Simulation in Healthcare: Journal of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare. 2015 Aug 1;10(4):217222.


Cheng A, Eppich W, Kolbe M, Meguerdichian M, Bajaj K, Grant V. A conceptual framework for the development of debriefing skills: a journey of discovery, growth, and maturity. Simulation in Healthcare. 2020 Feb 1;15(1):55–60.


Kolbe M, Rudolph JW. What’s the headline on your mind right now? How reflection guides simulation-based faculty development in a master class. BMJ Simulation & Technology Enhanced Learning. 2018 Jul 9;4(3):126132.


Kolbe M, Grande B, Spahn DR. Briefing and debriefing during simulation-based training and beyond: content, structure, attitude and setting. Best Practice & Research Clinical Anaesthesiology. 2015 Mar 1;29(1):8796.


Cheng A, Grant V, Robinson T, et al. The Promoting Excellence and Reflective Learning in Simulation (PEARLS) approach to health care debriefing: a faculty development guide. Clinical Simulation In Nursing. 2016 Oct 1;12(10):419428.


Cheng A, Morse KJ, Rudolph J, Arab AA, Runnacles J, Eppich W. Learner-centered debriefing for health care simulation education: lessons for faculty development. Simulation in Healthcare: Journal of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare. 2016 Feb 1;11(1):3240.


Zhang H, Mörelius E, Goh SHL, Wang W. Effectiveness of video-assisted debriefing in simulation-based health professions education: a systematic review of quantitative evidence. Nurse Educator. 2019 May 1;44(3):E1–E6.


Garden AL, Le Fevre DM, Waddington HL, Weller JM. Debriefing after simulation-based non-technical skill training in healthcare: a systematic review of effective practice. Anaesthesia and Intensive Care. 2015 May;43(3):300308.


Levett-Jones T, Lapkin S. A systematic review of the effectiveness of simulation debriefing in health professional education. Nurse Education Today. 2014 Jun 1;34(6):e58e63.


Sawyer T, Eppich W, Brett-Fleegler M, Grant V, Cheng A. More than one way to debrief: a critical review of healthcare simulation debriefing methods. Simulation in Healthcare: Journal of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare. 2016 Jun 1;11(3):209217.


Dufrene C, Young A. Successful debriefing – best methods to achieve positive learning outcomes: a literature review. Nurse Education Today. 2014 Mar 1;34(3):372376.


Neill MA, Wotton K. High-fidelity simulation debriefing in nursing education: a literature review. Clinical Simulation In Nursing. 2011 Sep 1;7(5):e161e168.


Archer JC. State of the science in health professional education: effective feedback. Medical Education. 2010 Jan;44(1):101108.


Gordon M, Darbyshire D, Baker P. Non-technical skills training to enhance patient safety: a systematic review. Medical Education. 2012 Nov;46(11):10421054.


Byrne AJ, Greaves JD. Assessment instruments used during anaesthetic simulation: review of published studies. BJA: British Journal of Anaesthesia. 2001 Mar 1;86(3):445450.


Ilgen JS, Ma IW, Hatala R, Cook DA. A systematic review of validity evidence for checklists versus global rating scales in simulation‐based assessment. Medical Education. 2015 Feb;49(2):161173.


Leslie K, Baker L, Egan-Lee E, Esdaile M, Reeves S. Advancing faculty development in medical education: a systematic review. Academic Medicine: Journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges. 2013 Jul 1;88(7):10381045.


Steinert Y, Mann K, Anderson B, et al. A systematic review of faculty development initiatives designed to enhance teaching effectiveness: a 10-year update: BEME Guide No. 40. Medical Teacher. 2016 Aug 2;38(8):769786.


Steinert Y, Mann K, Centeno A, et al. A systematic review of faculty development initiatives designed to improve teaching effectiveness in medical education: BEME Guide No. 8. Medical Teacher. 2006 Jan 1;28(6):497526.


Nehring WM, Wexler T, Hughes F, Greenwell A. Faculty development for the use of high-fidelity patient simulation: a systematic review. International Journal of Health Sciences Education. 2013;1(1):4.


Munn Z, Peters MDJ, Stern C, Tufanaru C, McArthur A, Aromataris E. Systematic review or scoping review? Guidance for authors when choosing between a systematic or scoping review approach. BMC Medical Research Methodology. 2018 Dec;18(1):143.


Peters M, Godfrey C, McInerney P, Munn Z, Tricco A, Khalil H. Chapter 11: scoping reviews (2020 version). 2020. In: JBI manual for evidence synthesis [Internet]. JBI. Available from: https://synthesismanual.jbi.global. Accessed 1 March 2022.


Peters M, Godfrey CM, Khalil H, McInerney P, Parker D, Soares CB. Guidance for conducting systematic scoping reviews. JBI Evidence Implementation. 2015;13(3):141146.


Arksey H, O’Malley L. Scoping studies: towards a methodological framework. International Journal of Social Research Methodology. 2005;8(1):1932.


Bordage G, Lineberry M, Yudkowsky R. Conceptual frameworks to guide Research and Development (R&D) in health professions education. Academic Medicine. 2016;91(12):e2.


Varpio L, Paradis E, Uijtdehaage S, Young M. The distinctions between theory, theoretical framework, and conceptual framework. Academic Medicine. 2020;95(7):989994.


Steinert Y. Faculty development: from workshops to communities of practice. Medical Teacher. 2010;32(5):425428.

Search strategy

Step Searches Results
1 exp Faculty, Medical/ 14,042
2 ((medical* or health*) and (teacher* or faculty* or clinician* or educator* or physician* or doctor* or professor* or professional*)).ti,ab,kw. 555,332
3 1 or 2 563,703
4 exp Staff Development/ 9,712
5 ((teacher* or faculty* or clinician* or educator* or physician* or doctor* or professor* or professional* or career*) adj3 (development* or program* or workshop* or growth)).ti,ab,kw. 36,954
6 4 or 5 44,198
7 computer simulation/ or augmented reality/ or virtual reality/ 201,778
8 (simulat* or ‘augment* realit*’ or ‘virtual realit*’ or ‘scenario-based*’).ti,ab,kw. 600,165
9 7 or 8 701,940
10 3 and 6 and 9 634

Proposed data extraction instrument

Citation details and example characteristics
Citation details Authors, date, title, journal, volume, issue, pages
Country where work was conducted
Study objective or research question
Study design Interventional study, theoretical, descriptive report, observational study, commentary, review, etc.
Type of publication Full manuscript, abstract, etc.
Participant details Level, specialty, setting, sample size, etc.
Details and results extracted from source of evidence (in relation to the concept of the scoping review)
1. What are the main content areas? Creating simulations, debriefing for teams, debriefing clinical skills, curriculum design and development, etc.
2. What methodologies and approaches are used in the faculty development activity? Workshops, virtual/online, self-study, etc.
3. Who is leading or conducting the faculty development activity? Health professional, educator, peer, etc.
4. What learner outcomes are assessed and evaluated?
5. Is the intervention/program evaluated? If so, how?
6. How is transfer of training demonstrated?
7. What conceptual and theoretical frameworks are being used to inform the design?
8. If there is an intervention with a control group, what differences emerged?
9. What is the temporal design of the faculty development program? One-time session, longitudinal program, short program, etc.
10. Is the program or session in person or remote?
11. What is the funding arrangement for the faculty development activity? Funded design, funded for attendees, by whom, etc.
12. What incentives are being used to encourage instructors to attend?
13. Who is host or organizer of the faculty development activity? National or international society, hospital, university, etc.
14. Summary of key findings