April 2, 2024

Atrium Health’s Carolinas Simulation Center

Humanity helps Carolinas Simulation Center reduce time spent on employee scheduling by 50%


Every year, thousands of medical students, residents, and other healthcare professionals participate in learning sessions at Atrium Health’s Carolinas Simulation Center. Held in settings that look just like hospital rooms or doctors’ offices, these sessions give learners a real-world environment to practice critical skills that will help them deliver the highest quality healthcare, keep patients safe, and be assets to their team.

In her role as Simulated Participant Coordinator, Leslie Nester is responsible for:

  • Finding and scheduling the actors and nurses who bring healthcare scenarios to life for the learners
  • Providing them with session-specific training materials so they can prepare for their role
  • Managing call offs, scheduling replacements, and communicating scheduling updates
  • Assisting other hospital locations when they want to offer simulation trainings”


Every day brings different trainings with different skillset and staffing needs, which made it time-consuming and stressful for Nester to get the right people scheduled each day. For example, not everyone is qualified to simulate a behavioral health emergency.

Nester’s original scheduling process was unreliable and labor-intensive. She used a spreadsheet to track shifts, as well as the actors and nurses (called simulated participants, or SPs), needed for those shifts. Then, to book SPs, she’d send a string of emails to gauge interest, get people scheduled, share PDFs of background materials, and, when needed, follow up if the shift remained open or emails got lost.

“I’d have to email out all the needs and then re-email out all the needs when days weren’t booked,” recalls Nester. “Then, I’d have to attach PDFs and send them the emails that were getting lost. It just wasn’t very efficient.”


That all changed when Carolinas Simulation Center adopted TCP Software’s Humanity, a dynamic employee scheduling solution, in April 2021.

Humanity provides healthcare centers, providers, and training facilities with AI- powered forecasting, automatic scheduling, and a top-rated mobile app that employees love.

With real-time, interactive employee scheduling, Nester is able to create a living schedule—even as simulation sessions get added or modified—and then automatically notify SPs of shift updates, reminders, openings, and more.


The simplicity significantly cut the amount of time Nester spends creating her schedule—a huge advantage that makes it easier for her to build schedules up to a year in advance while also making daily changes.

The copy functionality has been a major time saver, too. When there’s a repeating session, for example, she can simply copy the session information and post it in Humanity for SPs to sign up.


Humanity has cut my time spent scheduling in half.
Leslie Nester, Simulated Participant Coordinator

With that extra time, she’s able to build schedules much further in advance, which then gives SPs more time to plan for sessions and learn their role—and deliver high-quality training sessions that ultimately benefit learners, patients, and the broader health system.


Humanity has also improved communication by giving SPs an always-current view of available shifts, reminding them of upcoming shifts, and notifying Nester any time someone drops a shift. She’s then able to send out an automated notification to get the shift filled. Everyone’s clear on their schedule and can easily make adjustments if they need to.


What about sessions that require specialized skills? Only registered nurses can play a nurse during a simulation, for example.

When a session calls for specific skills, Nester no longer has to hunt through a spreadsheet to find the right SPs. With Humanity’s interactive Shift Planning module, she can quickly filter the schedule for a certain session and send a scheduling request only to those who are qualified.

“All my workers have said how user-friendly it is. They can take themselves off the schedule if they need to. Humanity immediately sends me an alert so I can immediately fill it.”


“(It’s) just so much easier. I just make a few clicks and it just sends it to the right people instead of me having to filter through and find them,” she says. “We have behavioral health sessions that you have to have special training for. It’s so nice that I can go ahead and send that request instead of having to reach out individually to people. I know they’ve all been trained.”

Humanity’s Training module also alleviates the need to manually send training material to help SPs learn their role, often getting lost in inboxes. “I can just post materials the one time, and then update them as needed. That information is no longer getting stuck in people’s email.”


Nester appreciates how responsive TCP’s customer service is, too. No matter what the question, customer service is “very responsive” every time.

“We’re very unique, and you were able to find a way to make it work for all of our different needs and skills. That’s been great.”

Get ready to get time right.