Author Archives: Alexandra Bradshaw

The Simbulance

Our site at Manchester St James’ provides an extensive modern clinical simulation suite, including a mock operating theatre, ambulance simulator and clinical skills stations. A 3D immersive simulation suite enables you to practice clinical scenarios in a realistic, supportive and safe environment, and additional facilities include an open plan library and IT resources.

The ambulance setup at St James’, or as we like to call it, the ‘Simbulance’ is used by our Paramedic students. We can simulate any type of ambulance call as well as teach our students how to work as a team with a limited number of players, in a very limited amount of space.

Our student Paramedics use the Simbulance for most of their scenarios; for example, transporting a patient in critical condition to the facility and then working all types of treatment on the patient in the back. They learn how to move the patient safely in and out of the Simbulance, using the correct techniques to avoid injuring themselves or their backs in the process.

Our Simbulance replicates what kind of environment students will be working in once fully qualified – from the emergency situation, to how the equipment and supplies in a working Ambulance are set up. The facility is designed and arranged in exactly the same format as a real Ambulance would be on the road.

We have observation cameras installed within the vehicle which allow our simulation team and clinical training leads to observe the scenario. In addition, the training team provide feedback and students can review their simulation retrospectively. This enhances our students’ learning experience and improves their professional development.

An observation screen is due to be installed on the exterior of Simbulance in the near future, providing others with the chance to watch the simulation scenario taking place in real-time whilst removing distractions and pressure from the candidates involved within the facility.

Exercising with mobility restrictions

Edge Hill University students enrolled on the Exercise, Diet and Health Promotion module are required to produce a leaflet promoting physical activity to a specific population group, to address health inequalities. The leaflet must include population specific recommendations for how to incorporate physical activity into their lifestyle, considering any physical or environmental limitations they may have. As previous cohorts had expressed difficulty with translating physical activity recommendations into useable information for specific at risk populations, module leader Claire Blennerhassett introduced a practical workshop that tasked students to adapt specific activities for populations with mobility and sensory impairments.

During the session, volunteers wear the geriatric and bariatric suits to carry out different exercises and provide feedback on the suitability of the adaptations. Demonstrating their creativity, students have in the past adapted equipment and exercise to make them more manageable for those wearing the suits. Students have also shown compassion towards their peers as they support individuals to complete activities that were challenging due to physical restrictions.

The geriatric suit includes a back brace, elbow and kneepads to restrict the range of movement and weights attached to the wrists and ankles increase the effort of each physical activity. In addition, goggles, earplugs and gloves impair the senses of the student.

‘The worst part was the goggles, I couldn’t tell where the steps where. It was hard to know when I’d got to the bottom step’ said a past student.

Similar to the geriatric suit, the bariatric suit also reduces the students range of movement however this is done by adding extra weight which increases the perception of effort.

Physical activity has the potential to improve the health status and quality of life of an ageing population, and also reduce the rates of obesity locally and globally. Giving students the skills to translate the Department of Health’s physical activity guidelines into useable information for individuals is a valuable employability skill for those pursuing a career in health and social care or health promotion.

#MeetTheManikins | Derek

Derek, known formally as ‘MegaCode Kelly’ is the nation’s favourite film star! (Or at least our favourite here at Edge Hill Clinical Skills) 🌟

Derek is a full-body simulation manikin designed to help our students in their practice of advanced, difficult and obstructed airway scenarios and IV therapy. He provides us with the capabilities to simulate tricky scenarios for our students such as Cardiac Defibrillation, Pacing, and ECG Interpretation.

To complement his fantastic acting skills, Derek has a range of exciting features which allow our students to practice many different skills. These include having an obstructed airway and bilateral carodid pulse. As seen in the first episode of ‘The Life of Derek’ he can also simulate emergency scenarios such as a cardiac arrest, in which students are required to perform CPR. 

Derek joined Edge Hill many years ago and with him, brought a range of ‘bits and pieces’! His favourite, we are told, are from his Trauma Module Set which include a crushed foot with exposed bone, abdominal injury and metal wounded face.. but we’re sure he’ll show you more on this in his new social media show! Stay tuned… #TheLifeOfDerek

Healthcare Simulation Week at Edge Hill University

Simulation is a practice learning technique used at Edge Hill University to enhance the confidence and skills of our Health and Social Care students. It is a technique which aims to replicate ‘real-life’ patient scenarios, providing a safe space in which students can work together and demonstrate their skills in an immersive and controlled environment.

Simulation and Skills Education will be soon based within a brand new Clinical Skills and Simulation Centre (formally the LINC building) at our Ormskirk Campus, alongside facilities at Alder Hey’s Institute in the Park and St James’ in Manchester City Centre. You can learn more about our Simulation and Skills Education facilities, below:

Manchester St James’

Alder Hey Institute in the Park

Clinical Skills and Simulation Centre (Ormskirk Campus)

Healthcare Simulation Week was created to celebrate the work of global professionals who use simulation and to raise awareness nationwide about how healthcare simulation is leading to safer patient care.

We’ll be showcasing exactly how we use simulation here at Edge Hill University this week on our social media channels, and we’ll also be introducing you to some of our fantastic members of staff (human and manikin!) so make sure to keep your eyes peeled…

You can follow along with Healthcare Simulation Week at Edge Hill University on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels linked below. And don’t forget to check out the full Healthcare Simulation Week campaign too, by following @HcSimWeek and #HcSimWeek19 on Twitter!

Facebook 👉

Twitter 👉

Instagram 👉

Simulation Leads: Jane Wilson | Midwifery

Jane Wilson

Jane, what types of skills do you practice in Clinical Skills and Simulation?

Students practice a variety of clinical skills in relation to antenatal and postnatal care, as well as birth and neonatal skills.  For example:

Antenatal skills – Blood pressure, Abdominal palpation (assess appropriate growth of the baby / fetal position). Venepuncture. Injection technique, IV management. 

Intranatal skills – Delivering a baby, cephalic and breech presentation. 

Neonatal resuscitation, Basic Life support, management of obstetric emergencies.

How beneficial is simulation in your programme?

Students value simulation very much as an opportunity for practising and consolidating new skills in a safe environment.  Even though students have clinical skills in each module, they always request more as it proves a valuable way to enhance knowledge and skills. 

What’s your favourite session to run with your students in Clinical Skills and Simulation?

Students very much like using Noelle and practising normal birth skills.  This session gives them the opportunity to work as a team to achieve a safe normal birth in a safe environment.

What is your favourite piece of kit and why?

Noelle!  This interactive manikin allows for different scenarios to be generated and students can practice important skills in a safe environment.  

What Top Tip would you give to our students attending a session in Clinical Skills and Simulation?

Relax and enjoy the session.  Try to be okay with being filmed and watching yourself back.  This helps to improve personal body language when working in a professional environment and allows for critical self-reflection – noticing strengths and weaknesses.

Simulation Leads: Jamie Macpherson | ODP

Jamie Macpherson

Jamie, what types of skills do you practice in Clinical Skills and Simulation?

I lead a 1st year and a third-year module as part of the Operating Department Practice programme and try to encompass as many simulated activities a possible to facilitate learning or to cement recently acquired theoretical knowledge. 

For the First-Year module (Fundamentals of anaesthetic and surgical practice), clinical skills and simulation sessions include:

  • Practice scenarios in greeting a patient, performing safety checks and application of basic cardiovascular monitoring to a Service User. 
  • The basic introduction to a surgical environment, using specialist equipment, instrumentation and sterile drapes.
  • Consolidation scenarios at the end of the taught content which involve several simulated scenarios, facilitated by the lecturer, with the aim of linking newly taught theoretical knowledge to clinical application.

For the Third-year module (Emergency Care in the Peri-operative environment), sessions include:

  • Basic to advanced airway management techniques
  • Immediate Life Support skills
  • Patient clinical assessment
  • Transfer simulation. Here the students are immersed in a real time, simulated scenario involving the transfer of a critically ill patient…who inevitably deteriorates en-route to their destination!

How beneficial is simulation in your programme?

The feedback from the students is overwhelmingly positive and I would love to incorporate more clinical skills sessions in to my modules.

What’s your favourite session to run with your students in Clinical Skills and Simulation?

I really enjoy the transfer session. Due to its immersive nature, the students fully engage in all of the required skills and are forced to make appropriate clinical decisions. 

At the end of the session there is a thorough debrief and feedback element and it is only then that the students appreciate how much knowledge and skills they actually possess! Lightbulb moment.

What is your favourite piece of kit and why?

The interactive monitor and Simpad. I am familiar with the Laerdal technology which helps but the Simpad is really easy to navigate which enables me, as the session facilitator, to engage with the session content specifically as opposed to having to concentrate on pressing the buttons on the monitor controller. 

What ‘Top Tip’ would you give to our students attending a session in Clinical Skills and Simulation?

Just remember, all clinical skills and simulation sessions are learning activities not summative assessments. To enable maximal learning to occur, students need to fully immerse themselves in to the activity and not worry about making mistakes! 

Meet our Clinical Skills and Simulation Coordinators!

A Clinical Skills Coordinator, or Clinical Simulation Technician, is a member of support staff who provide technical, computer, administrative and team working skills to the Clinical Skills and Simulation Centre. Their role is key to ensuring that simulation sessions run smoothly, providing an excellent experience for students and staff.

Here at Edge Hill University we have a team of three Clinical Skills and Simulation Coordinators – Beth Spencer, Coordinator at our Ormskirk campus, Hayley McArthur at our Alder Hey Institute in the Park facility, and Aggie Sumera, Coordinator at our Manchester St James’ site. We caught up with them recently to talk about their roles in Clinical Skills, highlighting the good, the bad, and the funny!

Spotlight on: Aggie Sumera

Aggie, what do you enjoy about your role here at Edge Hill University?

I love working with students and academics and seeing how students develop their skills and knowledge over time, becoming clinicians. I like the fact that the job is hands-on and that through simulation, we can make education fun. 

Who uses the facilities at our Manchester St James’ site?

In Manchester, we facilitate sessions for mainly Operating Department Practice (ODP) and Paramedic students.

What 3 ‘Top Tips’ would you give to someone considering the role of a Clinical Skills and Simulation Technician?

Try to gain a better understanding of what the professions entail, as this helped me a lot! Even simply looking into a textbook on basic aspects of care that Paramedics or ODPs deliver helped me to be better at my job and enjoy it.

What’s your favourite piece of kit?

I love the make up kit. I really enjoy preparing simulated patients for scenarios!

What is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you as a Technician?

It is hard to pick one thing, but I find our students’ sense of humour really funny. For example, after completing a case scenario, they realised that they had accidentally left the patient’s amputated limb on scene. It was a very good learning point for them, by the way!

Spotlight on: Hayley McArthur

Hayley, what do you enjoy about your role here at Edge Hill University?

This is a very varied role, no two days are the same. One day I could be operating a manikin for a scenario in Edge Hill University, next I could spend the day in a fire station with the EHU paramedic students and fire service, doing moulage for scenarios such as a road traffic collision.

Operating the manikins can be quite good because if students haven’t used them before and are nervous seeing them at first, it’s nice to see their attitude towards them changing as they become more comfortable throughout the scenario. Even when the manikin doesn’t answer some of the questions the way they would like, for example, the student may ask ‘What is your pain level on a scale from 1-10?’ and the manikin could answer ‘yes’. This is because we have pre-selected answers.  

Who uses our Alder Hey Institute in the Park facilities?

Our site at Alder Hey Institute in the Park is still fairly new and we are currently developing specific programmes, however we have recently facilitated simulation sessions for Children’s Nursing and Operating Department Practice students.

What 3 ‘Top Tips’ would you give to someone considering the role of a Clinical Skills and Simulation Technician?

My Top Tips are:

1- Some days may be a challenge, but they will also be rewarding.

2- It is really varied.

3- The possibilities really are endless on what you can do!

What’s your favourite piece of kit?

My favourite piece of kit is Noelle, our birthing manikin. I think Noelle is an amazing piece of kit and the midwives really benefit from using her.

What is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you as a Technician?

Whilst filming ‘The Life of Derek’ for Healthcare Simulation Week we carried 2 right arms and Derek’s legs across campus to film at the gym. 😊 We had some very strange looks whilst filming, and also when walking to/from Edge Hill Sport!

Spotlight on: Beth Spencer

Beth, what do you enjoy about your role here at Edge Hill University?

I enjoy working with our academic staff by helping them plan simulation and skills sessions for our students.

Who uses the facilities at our campus here in Ormskirk?

Our clinical skills and simulation rooms are used by all Health, Social Care and Medicine professions at Ormskirk. It’s a really busy area of the faculty which is well used each week and in addition to this we also hold taster events for local schools and colleges. Quite often our facilities are also used by Edge Hill media students and external film companies.

What 3 ‘Top Tips’ would you give to someone considering the role of a Clinical Skills and Simulation Technician?

My three top tips would be; 1) Join a technician WhatsApp or Facebook group for hints, tips and networking. 2) Get to know different types of simulation equipment. 3) Visit a local simulation centre and talk to the Technician – you could even ask to sit in on a simulation session to give you an idea of what the role involves.

What’s your favourite piece of kit?

I like setting up the Venepuncture arms and seeing them in use! This particular piece of kit helps our students learn and practice how to take a blood sample from the arm, and how to insert a cannula. (They are a pain to clean afterwards but you get used to it! 😊)

What is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you as a Technician?

There are plenty of funny things which happen each day as the job is so varied! One which particularly stands out to me though was when the manikin’s leg completely came off when a student lifted the foot up. This was not part of the scenario!

#MeetTheManikins | Ariel and Cliff

Let us introduce you to the faculty twins, Ariel and Cliff – Our very own child simulation manikins!  👋👋

Ariel and Cliff, known as the MegaCode Kids, are used by our students in a range of different simulated scenarios including CPR, Trauma, First Aid and more. They help us to practice our skills and work together to improve patient outcomes and experiences.

Now Ariel and Cliff are no strangers around the faculty! They live in our Better at Home Suite with Derek, Noelle and the rest of our simulation family, and as you’ll see in tonight’s episode of ‘The Life of Derek’, they’re always up to mischief!

Simulating the bodies of human children, Ariel and Cliff have realistic airways which allow our students to practice the insertion of standard airway devices. They also boast ‘multi-venous paediatric IV arms’, which means we can inject them with helpful medicines and drips on the ward if required.

Not only do Ariel and Cliff look and feel human, but they also have a heartbeat and regulated breathing functionality. We can change their breathing and heart rates depending on the scenario, and this helps us to provide our students with a realistic experience when learning to look after patients. 

#SimulationSessions | Obstetric Haemorrhage

Our Midwifery department recently arranged a recent simulation session using our birthing manikin, Noelle, in the Edge Hill Cave.

This particular session provided second year students with the opportunity to develop their skills in Obstetric Haemorrhage in an immersive manner. Students were firstly allocated into small groups before dealing with the scenario whilst the rest of the class watched via the lecture theatre. Both groups were then brought back together to discuss feedback.

Students found this session to be valuable in enhancing their clinical skills ability and confidence, proving the importance of Simulation in Healthcare training.

Student Profile | Valerie Hutson

Graduating in 2015 from Edge Hill with a First Class BSc (Hons) degree in Nutrition and Health, Val applied to join the Association for Nutrition UK Voluntary Register via the portfolio route.

In 2016 Blackpool Council recruited Val as their Healthy Lifestyles Nutritionist based at the Towns new Health Works Hub. This new initiative brought together employment, health and lifestyle specialist providing advice for local residents to help them gain employment and improve overall health and wellbeing. Val led the team of Healthy Lifestyles Coaches whose role it was to encourage and support Blackpool residents to make healthier choices. 

As part of the Council’s Public Health Team Val also supported the development of the new Healthier Choices Catering Award. She encourages food outlets, such as take-aways, schools, children’s centres, and workplace canteens to adopt healthier cooking methods and make healthier food options available.  Val has presented over 125 Healthier Choices Awards and in 2019 launched the New Junior Healthier Choices Award recognising healthier, family friendly venues that welcome in breastfeeding mothers.

Working within the community Val has delivered primary school taster sessions to promote healthy packed lunches and breakfasts, developing leaflets and activity sheets to reinforce health messages. She also supported the mental health charity Headstart by planning and facilitating healthy eating cooking courses with groups of High School students.

After recently completing Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food ‘Train the Trainer’ Programme Val with be encouraging Blackpool families to cook from scratch with hands on cooking sessions.