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Q&A with world-renowned simulation expert – Dr Ben Symon


Healthcare Simulation Week runs from Monday 18 to Friday 22 September 2023, and celebrates professionals using simulation to improve the safety, effectiveness and efficiency of healthcare delivery.

As an Affiliate Partner of the internationally renowned Harvard Center for Medical Simulation (CMS), Mater is a global leader in simulation, providing exceptional professional development opportunities to Mater People and beyond.

In celebration of Healthcare Simulation Week, Mater sat down with Clinical Simulation Director Dr Ben Symon to chat about his role and the benefits of simulation at Mater.

How long have you worked at Mater?

Six months, it’s gone by fast!

What does your role involve?

I have two big goals in my role currently:

  1. Make sure our education programs connect efficiently and effectively with the needs of Mater clinicians, to co-design learning that benefits our patients and the culture of our hospital.
  2. To help our education team and simulation fellows become the strongest, most agile team of educators we can be.


What do you enjoy most about your role?

My favourite part of my job is our weekly EDGE (Educators Getting Educated) sessions. Every Monday morning, we discuss a hot topic, podcast or article in education. We routinely get about 20 passionate educators each week, who come together to share educational wins and push each other to incorporate the latest educational science into practice. Clinicians in our hospitals are welcome to join us!

Seeing our incredible group of educators take on new theories and practice has been incredible. For example, our birth suite teams run daily simulations at their team huddles adapting their scenarios to suit actual high-risk patients on the ward. It’s wonderful to see a team of educators help clinicians on the ward prepare for a complication that could happen on the day, putting us all in the best position to care for our patients.


Do you have a highlight from your time at Mater so far / what is a professional achievement you’re most proud of?

I have many! I’ve had opportunities to be a keynote speaker at various conferences – including the Advanced Life Support Group conference on communication in health during Healthcare Simulation Week. Opening the Don’t Forget the Bubbles conference in 2022 to speak on transactive memory was so much fun.

It’s exciting to see interprofessional teams of medical, nursing and allied health educators collaborating to find ways for our healthcare teams to work together effectively. Watching the OptiSim team recently test our ‘missing patient’ processes was a remarkable display of every part of the system working together to improve our care delivery. Watching representatives from executive, security and the ward collaborate and reflect on how we can protect our patients was remarkable to see.


Why are the Mater Values important to you?

Striving for excellence with compassion and integrity is central to all things simulation. If we can engage with teams and respect their expertise, have compassion for the challenges they face, and use honesty and integrity to offer opportunities for change, we’re well positioned to succeed.


Are you working in the career you thought you’d be in when you were in high school?   

Definitely not! I was determined to be an animator. I studied for three years at the Queensland College of Art before medical school.


What would be your personal motto?  

“Have courage and be kind” has always stuck with me.

This Healthcare Simulation Week, consider enhancing your skillset by exploring the professional development simulation opportunities available through Mater here.

Townsville Open Day - 18 May

Be inspired by students and educators at Mater Private Hospital Townsville and learn more about what a career in healthcare might look like for you!

Register now