Doctors and nurses at Epsom and St Helier hospitals are being given the chance to hone their skills and test their reactions during life or death situations, thanks to a £100,000 investment in a state-of-the-art simulation training centre.
The centre includes a collection of six simulation manikins which represent different ages and genders (including a pregnant woman, three adults, a young child and a baby), allowing staff to undergo realistic training in a number of different scenarios. And in order to be as lifelike as possible, the manikins have a pulse, can mimic talking, crying, sweating, and even urinating.
During the training, staff from different disciplines (ranging from healthcare assistants to senior consultants) are asked to provide care in a situation when the ‘patient’ will suddenly deteriorate. The way they react and the clinical choices they make are observed and filmed by specialist trainers, who also control the response of the manikin. Immediately afterwards all the team engage in an in-depth debrief conversation, where actions and decision making are explored.
Dr Jenny Blair, consultant anaesthetist and simulation lead, said: “In a situation when a patient becomes critically ill, our teams must perform at their best. It’s therefore fundamentally important that clinical staff can understand how they behave and react in those circumstances. These simulation manikins allow us to practise our responses in a safe way, so we are ready for the real life situation.
“Doctors and nurses often have to work through incredibly stressful situations, and although we have years of technical training behind us, it is vital that we can understand the human factors that come into play in those circumstances.”
The brand new unit, which is named the Elena Power Simulation Centre in memory of a member of staff who sadly passed away last year, also includes state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment for training sessions. The suite can also be used to recreate various patient areas, for example general wards, A&E departments, operating theatres and even the home.
Joint Medical Director, Dr James Marsh said: “As an organisation of university hospitals, we know how important it is that our staff can keep learning, training and developing. These new simulation manikins are a fantastic asset to our hospitals, and give our staff the chance to understand how they react in critical situations and, where necessary, how they could improve.
“By offering staff realistic simulations and the chance to train as a team, everyone is going to work more effectively when a real emergency happens.”
For more information about training or working for our hospitals, please visit www.epsom-sthelier.nhs.uk/work-for-us.