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Claire presents RIF project findings in Berlin

Congratulations to Lecturer in Nutrition and Health, Dr Claire Blennerhassett who visited Berlin earlier this year to present the findings of a RIF project in collaboration with Dr Michael Richards and Dr Fiona Hallet, entitled ‘Parents perceptions of the challenges and barriers to implementing a parent led intervention for food selectivity in children with Autism’.

As a result of a successful application to the Student Opportunity Fund, BSc (Hons) Nutrition and Health Student, Elizabeth Edge was involved in producing the abstract, which was accepted and has been acknowledged in the authors of the poster.

The Student Quality Ambassador Programme (SQA)

The Student Quality Ambassador programme is an NHS North West Initiative for healthcare students to promote best practice and quality initiatives within the workplace, challenging the current standards of care. The programme runs across the whole of the North West, providing students from a range of different universities with the opportunity to role model and positively affect the quality of healthcare.

Students who are involved with the Student Quality Ambassador programme share best practice between them, and contribute to innovation through regular meet ups, supporting their peers in presentations, conferences and events. The programme forms a region-wide collaboration of Higher Education Institutions (HEI’s) and Service Providers to work with students with a focus on promoting their projects with care and compassion in the health and social care sector.

So what exactly does a Student Quality Ambassador do?

Previous Student Quality Ambassadors have been involved with a variety of projects to improve patient care. For example, the ’15 Steps Toolkit’, Audits, Mock Inspections and becoming Dementia Friends. But it doesn’t stop there! As a Student Quality Ambassador, students are provided with the opportunity to develop their own ideas from what inspires them. An example of this includes the ‘Are You a Veteran?’ project from one of our very own Edge Hill SQA’s.

Student Name: Karen Vernon
Project Name: Are you a Veteran?

Are you a Veteran? Is a project developed on the SQA programme by Mental Health Student Nurses, Karen Vernon and Natalie Matthews. Running alongside the organisation Veterans in Sefton, Karen and Natalie started working to implement and create awareness around Mental Health support services available to Veterans and their families.

Now leading on the project, Karen Vernon aims to involve Healthcare Professionals and further support services to stop and ask the question, ‘Are you a Veteran?’ during routine and emergency medical appointments. She hopes to develop a greater understanding of Veterans within the Health and Social Care sector, so that signposting and delivering care can be provided as best as possible.

This was demonstrated at a recent World Mental Health Day conference hosted at Edge Hill University, whereby Karen presented her project and signposted to relevant support services. Karen also facilitated guest speakers from Veteran’s in Sefton to speak at the conference about Mental Health in the Forces.

Karen’s goal is to raise awareness for Veteran’s Mental Health and work with healthcare providers to provide tailored support.

Karen Vernon (Left) and Natalie Matthews (Right) with Veterans in Sefton.

As referenced on the Student Quality Ambassador website, members of the SQA programme regularly engage the following:

  • Undertake practice based learning and feel empowered to champion and highlight good practice
  • Challenge areas of practice requiring development
  • Show leadership and motivation for themselves and other students, including being test subjects for innovations such as trialling the use of Standardised Numeracy Assessment Project (SNAP), Values and Behaviours assessment tools and e-learning projects
  • Work alongside and liaise between Practice Areas, Practice Education Facilitators, Higher Education Institutions, Students, Service Users/Patients and Carers, and further Professionals

So, are you up for the challenge?

If you’re a current Edge Hill student studying Health, Social Care or Medicine and would like to get involved, please click here to download the Student Quality Ambassador programme brochure and apply online.

National Fitness Day 2019

When we talk about exercise we usually refer to the physical health benefits: increased levels of cardiovascular fitness, muscle gain, fat loss etc. but what we often overlook is the impact exercise can have on our Mental Health.

Today (Wednesday 25th September) is National Fitness Day, and we’re focusing on celebrating the benefits that exercise can have on our Mental Health and Wellbeing.

🌟 Exercise makes us feel happier

When we exercise our bodies release endorphins, which are chemicals produced naturally by the nervous system. Endorphins create feelings of happiness and euphoria, which can boost our mental wellbeing!

🚨 Exercise can help reduce stress levels

Did you know that exercise can help manage mental stress? Norepinephrine is a chemical within the body which moderates the brain’s response to stress, and exercising can increase it’s concentration. This means that working out can actually reduce stress levels and boost the body’s ability to deal with existing mental tension.

🌙 Exercise can help us catch more Zzz’s

Physical exercise is tiring! And when we feel more tired at the end of the day we sleep better, and often deeper. Sleeping helps us to recover from mental as well as physical exertion, so making sure we catch enough Zz’s is super important!

💥 Exercise can boost brainpower

Cardiovascular exercise (such as jogging/rowing/dancing etc.) can create new neurogenesis (brain cells) and this can improve overall brain performance. Did you know that a challenging workout can actually increase your levels of brain-derived protein? Known as BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor), this protein in the body is believed to help with decision making, thinking and learning.

So there you have it!

Exercising regularly can benefit our bodies in many ways – mentally and physically. So why not take today as an opportunity to head outside, enjoy the fresh air, and take part in #NationalFitnessDay 2019!

Helen Henderson | Head of Simulation and Skills Education

Helen Henderson is our new Head of Simulation and Skills Education here at Edge Hill University. We caught up with Helen to learn more about her role here at EHU, and discover what the future may hold for our university in terms of Healthcare Simulation.

Who am I?

I have been really fortunate to recently join Edge Hill University as Head of Simulation and Skills Education. I have over 20 years of simulation experience with the last 5 years spent working abroad in a large simulation centre.

Why Edge Hill University?

The Faculty of Health, Social Care & Medicine is involved in delivering a wide variety of programmes many of which have already incorporated simulation and skills into them. This can already be seen for example in the ODP, Midwifery, Nursing and Paramedic programmes. In addition, the University has significantly invested in the development of the new Clinical Skills and Simulation Centre which will be open very soon. This not only gives us the opportunity to have more simulation but will help in enabling more collaboration and interprofessional learning opportunities. It is a really exciting time being part of the Simulation and Skills Education team at EHU.

Why is Simulation-based education important?

It enables learners to practice (repeatedly) in a safe environment where they can make mistakes, reflect on what happened and learn, without causing any harm to patients. Ultimately it increases patient safety and helps learners to become more competent and confident in their knowledge, skills and attitudes.

Why do I like simulation?

If used correctly simulation is an effective teaching method with a growing body of research evidence support. It really does help to link the theory to practice and once learners get over the initial apprehension they can see the benefit and tend to want more. It is a challenging, but fun and engaging way to learn.

What’s next?

We move from our current skills facilities to the new building in the next week, so Beth and Hayley are busy packing up whilst classes are still ongoing. I don’t think they will ever want to move to a new house after this! Then it will be all the unpacking including all the new equipment. That will be fun and a bit like Christmas as we will get to play with all the new toys, sorry patient simulators and software, including the new management system.
After that we have the students in from the 30th September, tours, open days, a welcome evening in October and all the staff in the faculty have a staff study day in November which is focusing on skills and simulation this time. Once our team is fully on board we will start to offer faculty development sessions, but whatever we are doing (including Derek and his family) we will share through the simulation and skills community.

Emergency Simulation | Ashton-Under-Lyne Fire Station

Edge Hill University Simulation Technicians, Aggie and Hayley, recently joined a group of second year student Paramedics facing a series of emergency situations at Ashton-Under-Lyne Fire Station in a recent simulation collaboration.

The two-day event was structured into three scenarios, with students being asked to respond to a range of simulated emergencies.

As simulation support staff, Hayley and Aggie provided trauma make-up services to casualties, which made each scenario feel more realistic. Students were invited to try this too, enhancing their skillset and making the session even more engaging.

All scenarios involved Fire service and Paramedic students together as they were challenged to work as a team to provide the best care and treatment.

Lecturers from both Fire and Paramedic backgrounds were also present to observe the students on scene, and at the end of each scenario facilitated a debrief of what went well, what didn’t go well, and areas for improvement. All students were keen to be involved in this discussion, as it provided them with the opportunity to share their views and experience.

#MeetTheManikins – Noelle

Meet Noelle – Maternal Care Patient Simulator, Birthing Simulator, and not-so-secret-crush of Edge Hill Simulation Manikin, Derek. (See #TheLifeOfDerek on Twitter)

Noelle is a full-sized, articulating, full-body female manikin who provides our students with a complete birthing simulation experience before, during and after delivery. Together with a Resuscitation baby, Noelle’s comprehensive teaching system combines one of the best patient care simulators in Advanced Childbirth simulation.

Noelle works very closely with our team of simulation staff to create different scenarios for our student midwives, using her range of impressive simulation features. These include: Producing fetal heart sounds, shoulder dystocia, a dilating cervix, postpartum activity and a realistic uterus to name just a few.

And she didn’t join us alone! Not only did Noelle join Edge Hill University with Resuscitation baby, but also with various other additions such as umbilical cords, vulval inserts, umbilical clamps, dilating cervices and more.

Now poor Noelle barely rests, and as giving birth (up to five times!) each day would take its toll on any manikin, we felt it was only fair to give her a break. And so, we’d like to introduce you to the newest member of our Midwifery simulation kit – Victoria!

Victoria is described as ‘The world’s most lifelike childbirth simulator’ and can replicate scenarios from early pregnancy complications, high-risk deliveries and postpartum emergencies. And whilst she is similar to Noelle in many ways, Victoria also possesses many different features including interactive eye movements, and the ability to simulate breech deliveries and c-section deliveries.

As we’re currently in the process of moving into our new Clinical Skills and Simulation Centre, Victoria is yet to be unboxed and so doesn’t have a profile photo just yet… But don’t worry, we’re sure you’ll see both Victoria, and Noelle, around campus very soon!

Coming Soon to Social Work Simulation

Emma Rimmer is one of our Practice Education Lecturers and also Social Work Lead for Simulation here at Edge Hill University. We recently caught up with Emma to find out exactly what the future holds in terms of Social Work Simulation.

‘The Integrated Masters in Nursing and Social Work programme is planning a simulation exercise for our new third year students in the PUP3260 (Enhancing Confidence and Capability for Integrated Practice).

Without giving too much away, my colleague, John Morgan and I wanted to create a simulated scenario for our students across both the Nursing and Social Work profession, and therefore we are going to simulate a scenario in the new Clinical Skills and Simulation Centre suite that will test our students to ensure that they are developing skills in all areas of assessing, treating, and managing a patients health and social care needs.

We are hoping that this simulation day will prepare our students for their integrated placement in the fourth year of their programme.’

To learn more about our new Clinical Skills and Simulation Centre here at Edge Hill University, please visit here.

South Africa | Emergency Medical Care Rescue Exercise

Seven EHU Paramedic students recently joined three other universities in addition to further colleges and provincial services in a large scale training and simulation exercise in South Africa. Organised and facilitated by the University of Johannesburg, Rescue South Africa was also a large contributor in providing organisation and equipment.

The event consisted of training days to familiarise students with the equipment as well as each other. The equipment used was also not familiar to most of the local students which assisted in the learning process.

The days started early with a 5:30am to 6:00am wake up, and preparation included vehicle and equipment sessions ready for the day ahead.

Students endured scenarios which included high angle rope rescues mixed in with harsh environments such as the slippery slopes of a disused quarry, where an unfortunate simulated patient had fallen and suffered a fracture and severe head injury. There were confined space rescues where a gas explosion had gone off inside a dam wall, and students were tasked with finding a severely burnt patient in pitch black darkness. All scenarios were simulated with live patients, smoke, sound and realistic aspects ensuring extremely high-fidelity scenarios.

In total, the scenarios in South Africa included the following:

  1. An island search and rescue event
  2. Dam wall with extrication and rope rescue
  3. Confined space rescue
  4. Quarry with low angle and rope rescue
  5. Boat capsize incident

Students were also exposed to helicopter evacuations as we had the support of a government helicopter which assisted in the removal of patients to our field hospital which was manned by students at all times.

Multiple rescues were happening simultaneously and managed at the HQ by students, as this provided an opportunity to enhance their knowledge in resource management as well as the roles of incident commanders and radio communications. All students were given equal opportunities at all exercises and exposed to the most realistic simulated patients.

Another element of the South Africa training exercises involved learning about how, as a ‘rescuer’, to rescue yourself if something goes wrong. One such exercise included a simulated aircraft, in which a crash occurred in the evening with limited light. Participants were placed in the dam just over one mile away from shore and expected to swim to safety in an appropriate manner whereby each member looked after one and other. Students were prepared beforehand to look out for signs of hypothermia, as well as injuries and how to manage them in the water.

All exercises are completed by lecturing staff beforehand to ensure safety and moderation, and no students are expected to do something that a lecturer has either not done previously, or is not completing with them.

The Emergency Medical Care Rescue Exercise trip to South Africa has provided students from all campuses and universities with valuable life lessons and skills that will enhance their practice for the future. In addition, they have made friends for life and now hold this once-in-a-lifetime experience to cherish forever.

-Rory McKelvin, Edge Hill University Lecturer in Paramedic Practice and Pre-Hospital Care

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.

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!

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