Jaye, P., Anderson, J., Ross, A.J. and Snell, P.  (2013-2016) Centre of Excellence in Healthcare Resilience GSTT Charity [£580,598.60]

Carvalho, C., Jaye, P., Ross, A.,  Delivery of In-Situ Simulation Training For Emergency Department Staff  London Deanery’s Simulation and Technology-enhanced Learning Initiative [£28,848]

Colm is a speciality registrar in emergency medicine and has been involved with simulation-based clinical education since 2007.A simulation fellow, Colm says that, while every day is challenging and stimulating, he particularly enjoys working with both undergraduate and postgraduate trainees from different professional backgrounds.

Lambeth Academy students recently had the amazing experience of a day’s interactive training at the Simulation and Interactive Learning (SaIL) Centre at St Thomas’ Hospital.

The state of the art training centre is the latest addition to the King’s Health Partners’ simulation centre programme and opened last year to train doctors and other health care professionals. Students were invited by the Centre’s staff as part of a three year initiative supported by Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity designed to educate secondary school students in Lambeth and Southwark about careers in the NHS and wider healthcare.

The SaIL Centre has a replica six bed ward environment, operating theatre, and GP setting, placed around a central control room from which trainers can direct the action to replicate the unpredictability of real life scenarios.

During their training, students listened to talks from both clinical and non clinical healthcare professionals at Guy’s and St Thomas’, and other healthcare professionals including staff from the London Ambulance Service.

One of the main focuses of the day was to highlight patients’ journeys from the time the ambulance staff collect a patient, their arrival at the hospital, to their discharge from hospital into the community, and how different staff work together throughout their care.

In the morning, the students learnt clinical skills on part body models, including how to check a pulse, heart rate, take blood, insert lines for drug administration, and how to stitch up wounds. They were taught how to give CPR and insert breathing apparatus into model torsos.

They had the pleasure of meeting resident patient SimMan; a life-size computer-controlled human patient manikin. The manikin can blink, breath, speak, go into cardiac arrest and be resuscitated. The simulator trainers can control the functions of the manikin, responding to the actions of students to create an extremely realistic experience.

The skills the students learnt in the morning were put to the test in the afternoon, when the Centre’s staff set up a ‘live fidelity simulation’. Scrub clad students worked together with staff to save SimMan, who had gone into cardiac arrest; they monitored his heart, gave him oxygen and eventually administered CPR. They then worked with the occupational therapists who explained how SimMan’s experience could impact on his life at home, and how social care plays a part in the care of the patients once they leave the hospital.

Head of Social Sciences at Lambeth Academy, Monique Bertrand, who accompanied the students, said: “The most fantastic thing about the day was seeing every student engaged and enthusiastic about the learning. Progress was visible – an outstanding day.”

Dr Beth Thomas, who co-ordinates the training project at St Thomas’, believes the integration of the different career strands makes this programme a first of its kind. “It’s not just aimed at students who may be potential doctors, we aim to give young people an insight into the many different interesting careers that are on offer in the health service”, she says.

Director of Simulation at Guy’s and St Thomas’, Peter Jaye, said: “The ‘Hands up for Health’ program that Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity generously supports provides a great opportunity for health care professionals to work with the communities they serve, not only by encouraging young people into careers in Healthcare but also teaching them the skills required for healthy living.”

Staff at Guy’s and St Thomas’ are putting themselves in the shoes of older patients by using an innovative ageing simulation suit that helps them experience life as an older person.

One of only three in use in the NHS, the suit has been specifically developed to reduce movement, hearing and vision, and was worn by staff to better understand the challenges elderly patients face every day.

Head of Nursing for Acute Medicine at the Trust, Heidi Jensen, said it was an important experience to help build the specific skills required to care for older patients with complex needs.

“We didn’t want to just tell staff how to help patients, we wanted them to experience the difficulties our patients face and come up with their own suggestions for how we can improve care for our older patients,” Heidi said.

“The suit has weighted wristbands and armbands to weigh the wearer down and make their joints stiff, a stiff back support to simulate curvature of the spine due to osteoporosis, ear plugs to make hearing difficult and goggles to reduce vision.

“It can also include gloves to reduce sensitivity in the hands, replicating the effects of diabetes brought on by age.”

One member of staff said: “It has really made me think about what our patients go through and what is the best way to help them to carry out daily tasks.

“We were asked to do an everyday activity, so I tried to get out of bed, put on pyjamas, and use the loo while wearing the suit – but it was so difficult to do the things I take for granted. I couldn’t move easily and had to cling to furniture to keep my balance, and I wasn’t always aware of what was going on around me.”

Girda, a staff nurse, said: “I was asked to eat food while wearing the suit – I found it almost impossible and quite distressing, which showed me how much help some older patients really need during meal times.”