Society for Healthcare Simulation Accreditation: Where to Start

Society for Simulation in Healthcare Accreditation

Share This Post

The process of going through Society For Healthcare Simulation (SSH) Accreditation can be daunting, some teams say downright painful, but, as with any aspect of credentialing, your program will be better for it in the end. In this post I will share some pearls of wisdom to help you get started with the process. 

Step One: Build a Team

The first and most important part is to select the right team. Ideally, for this sized job, it is best to recruit at least 5 members, with a diversity of knowledge and strengths, on the team.

As you collect your team consider the essential personality types for a productive team. You will need a team leader, a member with a reputation for strong organizational skills, at least 1 “thinker” and ideally 2 “doers”. The first two archetypes are self-explanatory. Regarding the doer and thinkers of the group, a very wise mentor once told me that it is important to have both doers and thinkers on a team.

Doers are executers; they quickly take action and get satisfaction from achievement. A thinker takes the time to look at all the options, consider the risks to success and wants a full schematic of the plan before moving forward. Once the value of each member of the team was explained to me, I worked hard to remind myself of the value of each team member, even when the going got tough for this “doer”.


Step Two: Pick When You Will Submit

Society for Simulation in Healthcare offers 2 submission deadlines annually for submitting institutions, July 15, and February 15. An important caveat for non-English speaking countries is that while they accept applications from any institution regardless of location, they do require the application to be submitted in English.

Step Three: Select the Type Of Accreditation

The second decision point is selecting the type of accreditation your institution will be seeking from SSH. For new Simulationists, navigating this decision can be a little confusing. I have created a visual algorithm to make it clearer (see bottom of page). Because 2 years of outcomes data is required for full accreditation, SSH offers a 2-year provisional option for the core 7 standards (referred to as Core) and, in this case, only offers the teaching/education standard as the complimentary option. The provisional accreditation gives your team with the time it needs to collect the outcomes data required for full accreditation.

If your institution is already prepared to apply for full accreditation SSH requires institutions to select the Core and one of the following: assessment, research, or teaching/education. Programs also have the option to additionally apply for accreditation in the following 2 areas; systems integration & patient safety and/ or simulation fellowship.

Step 4: Create a Project Charter

Before rolling up your sleeves at the first team meeting and getting started, I recommend you spend that first meeting creating a project charter. The purpose of the project charter is three-fold. It creates a shared definition of the objectives and goals, it defines the scope of the project, avoiding scope creep, and it clearly identifies what resources will be needed for success. Once you have completed the project charter you can present this information to the leadership and/or stakeholders so there is clarity moving forward and agreement on the financial and time investment needed. Throughout the project the project charter serves as a beacon of light to keep focused.

Don’t Overthink It

My last suggestion on preparing to draft the application for full or provisional accreditation is to avoid over thinking it. The companion documents that SSH provides for all of the accreditation designations are very clear. Under each standard there are several standard statements written with italics and in light blue. Below each statement there is a double column table. The left side is the different criteria that the reviewers will evaluate to ensure the statement is satisfied. The right side of the table adds more detail to provide further clarity and/or explain the intent of the described criterion. 

The 2016 revision had a very helpful self study tool to assist with division of work and preparation of the documents, I have not been able to locate the self study tool for the 2021 revision but it is possible to create this for your team pretty easily.  However our team used the same framework as the accreditation companion guides with a few modifications. Our team lead set up a table similar to the one below and moved the detailed information located on the right side to the left, indented it and used italics to clearly identify it. We then had space at the right side of the table to draft a response to each identified criteria.  Below is an example for all of the visual learners reading this.

SSH Accreditation Table

The one thing I will say about the Simulationists of this world is that they are the MOST giving, caring, helpful, and generous people I have ever met. If your struggling with something during the process reach out on Sim Connect or LinkedIn. SSH has webinars on filling out the application for accreditation and many programs are willing to share their experiences or their insight on the portions of the application that are challenging for your team. Most likely someone else helped them and they want to pay it forward to help the next program be successful. The only thing these profoundly generous people ask is that you also pay it forward. 

Follow us on social media and keep up with all of our content!

(Visited 31 times, 1 visits today)

Subscribe To Our Blog

Get updates and learn from the best

More To Explore

Simulation Nation Podcast

Simulation Nation Guide to INACSL 2023

Nursing professionals and simulationists are gathering in just a few weeks for INACSL 2023!  Amy Cowperthwait CEO, RN, MSN, CNS, CHSE-A and Megan Weldon, CHSE sat down to discuss INACSL 2023 on Simulation Nation, a brand new podcast! In Episode 1, we go over everything you need to know about the kynotes at INACSl 2023.

simulated participant consulting

NAU Launches New Simulation Program with the Assistance of AvMentor

“I felt having live people (as opposed to mannequins) really helped bring reality to the situation” At the beginning of this year, Northern Arizona University (NAU) had begun their use of standardized Patients in simulation scenarios for their nursing students.  The use of a standardized patient program stems from the deployment of AvMentor at the

Get Your Resource



Get Your Resource


Get Your Resource


Avtrach, a high-fidelity, wearable tracheostomy simulator, is designed to replicate an anterior thorax so tracheostomy care and suctioning can be authentically replicated in simulation. Through a Bluetooth connection between Avtrach and the Avkin app, an assortment of lung sounds can be changed at any time by the educator from the control room. These lungs allow for the Avtrach to be connected to a ventilator and the patient to be in line with suctioning.

Wearable Tracheostomy Simulator

Avwound, a high-fidelity, wearable wound care simulator, is the most significant technological advancement for wound care in the industry. Learners can assess, measure, document, and provide care for all four stages of pressure wounds in addition to an assortment of surgical wounds providing educators with maximum flexibility for wound care education.

Wearable Wound Care Simulator

Meant to replace the need for including bulky ineffective earpieces in simulation, Avband, is a smartwatch look-a-like for inconspicuous 3-way communication between the control room, patient, and Avkin simulators. An alert button on the side of the product allows the live patient to send a panic notification to the control room if they feel psychologically and/or physically unsafe at any time during the simulation.

Simulated Participant Cueing Device

With the world’s only fully-automated, wearable birthing simulator, Avbirth, you can now include learning objectives such as closed-looped communication with an interprofessional team and therapeutic communication with the patient and their significant other through all phases of labor and delivery. Avbirth pairs with the Avkin App, allowing a multitude of simulations to be performed, including additional challenges for the development of critical thinking, such as shoulder dystocia or postpartum hemorrhage.

Simulated Birthing Device

Avcath, a high-fidelity, wearable urinary catheterization simulator, seamlessly replicates the human urinary system. The interchangeable male (circumcised or uncircumcised) and female genitalia allows learners to practice various types of urinary catheterization while also practicing essential communication skills. Our genitalia is made with high-quality silicone, allowing learners to use betadine and lubrication right out of their kits.

Wearable Urinary Catheterization Simulator

Avline, a wearable central line simulator, delivers a high-fidelity patient experience for a multitude of central venous care (CVC) simulations. This innovative simulator has two options for central venous treatment and care, a right subclavian triple lumen or a left subclavian implanted port; each option is removable, allowing the educator flexibility with learning outcomes.

Wearable Central Line Simulator

Avstick, a wearable IV simulator worn as a left-arm sleeve, allows learners to practice high-fidelity IV insertion during simulation. The wearable simulator cues the live patient wearing the sleeve through haptic vibration when the needle first pierces the smart skin. Multiple layers of woven plastic have been integrated into premium silicone to protect the wearer from any harm during the simulation.

Wearable IV Simulator

Avtone, the world’s only wearable auscultation simulator, offers a compact and lightweight design, comfortable for the live patient to wear. An anatomically correct chest piece allows novice and advanced students to identify proper landmarks just as they would in the clinical setting. Volume controls allow learners and educators to pinpoint the finer details of the actual patient recorded sounds contained within the Avtone.

Wearable Auscultation Simulator

Avthor, a wearable chest tube care simulator, replicates the intrathoracic pressures needed to realistically teach the assessment and care of a patient with a chest tube. When pairing the Avthor with a live patient, the simulation can include repositioning, transferring, and/or ambulating a patient with a chest tube.

Wearable Chest Tube Care Simulator

Get Your Resource


Get Your Resource


Get Your Resource


KBPort's BPSim is a blood pressure cuff simulator. Used just like any other blood pressure cuff, the readings are controlled via a smartphone app. It can be programmed for any blood pressure range, including hypotension, normal, pre-hypertension, hypertension (stages 1 & 2), and hypertensive crisis.


Getting accurate vital signs is critical when assessing a patient. With Innov2Learn's Thermometer and Oximeter devices, your learners will use real devices to capture and record simulated readings. No longer will you have to break fidelity to provide vital signs to your learners

Innov2Learn Pulse OX

Quality training is the most important element of working with live people in simulations. An untrained simulated participant (SP) can challenge the efficacy of your learning opportunities. A well-trained simulated participant (SP) can bring your simulations to life in ways you never thought possible. With all of this in mind, training an entire group of SPs can be time-consuming and feel intimidating.


Innov2Learn's training devices function the same as any thermometer or oximeter you would find in a clinic. Your learners will take vital signs using real devices with readouts you control via Bluetooth. You can use a smartphone app or desktop computer.

Innov2Learn Thermometer

Get Your Resource


Get Your Resource


Get Your Resource


Get Your Resource


Get Your Resource


Get Your Resource


Get Your Resource