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 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 for the debrief.

Students found this session to be valuable in enhancing their 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.

Student Profile | Nicola Holden

Nicola graduated from Edge Hill University in July 2015 with a First Class Honours Degree in Nutrition and Health.

“Studying nutrition at Edge Hill gave me a good understanding of the principles of nutrition and public health needed to understand the causes of non-communicable diseases and health inequalities, which I use regularly in my current job. The degree also equipped me with the skills to critically analyse evidence to ensure I am recommending evidence-based advice to my patients.

Following studying Nutrition and Health, I completed a PG dip in nutrition and dietetics which enabled me to qualify as a registered dietitian.

I am now a registered dietitian working for the NHS. I see patients in hospital and advise on nutritional plans to medically unwell patients. This involves developing feeding regimes for tube fed patients, encouraging weight gain in patients at risk of malnutrition and supporting patient’s nutritional development during rehab for brain injuries.”

Student Profile | Emma Wafer

Emma graduated from Edge Hill University in July 2017 with a First Class Honours Degree in Nutrition and Health.

‘Whilst in my third year at  Edgehill University studying BSc (Hons) Nutrition and Health one of my modules entitled, Personal Career Development, required me to complete a  placement in order for me to pass the course. One of the key focus points of the module was the transition process from study to the working environment with the focus on increasing key transferable and employability skills.

With ambitions to work with Food for Special Medical Purposes (FSMP), I carried out a work  placement at Nutricia.

My role was in the Product Development team, assisting Technicians with various testing, shadowing Technologists and working within the sensory lab.  I  was provided with the materials and resources needed to complete work relating to my university module but also  gained vital work experience within this industry.”

As Emma made a great impression, we asked her to extend her time in our Quality Department for a further 2 months, doing data entry for the China FSMP submission of new  products into China. 

After leaving Nutricia Emma kept an eye on our careers site and in contact with colleagues and came across the opportunity to apply for a role with the Productivity, security of Supply and capability team as Product Technician for Project Libra. Successfully applied and was recruited to commenced in summer 2017

Her role is supporting the implementation of changes to existing products as part of a continuous improvement programme to meet new legislation and market requirements

Emma’s first 3 months – she has already featured in company newsletter ! ‘Danone contributes to the learning and progression of its  employees.’

“The training and mentorship I have received from people within the company not only allowed me to take full advantage of opportunities during my placement enabling me to complete my portfolio to a high standard, but enhanced my employability.  Three months in, my personal development journey continues…”

Student Profile | Nathan Little

Nathan graduated from Edge Hill University in July 2018 with a First Class Honours Degree in Nutrition and Health.

“Since leaving Edge Hill, I took on a 1 year MA Documentary course at Liverpool John Moores University in 2017-18.

I had a keen interest in filmmaking, media and journalism during my time at Edge Hill and received a Creative Arts scholarship from the university alongside being nominated for an Enterprise Award following completion of the Nutriton and Entrepreneurship module.

I have taken quite a different route from what most students graduating from the Nutrition course would do, however I am still implementing my knowledge from the course to this day.

I currently hold a position as a Graphics Designer and Videographer, however I also work on my own projects with a company I set up called Glass Line Media.

We currently have a number of projects in the works, a few of which are documentaries exploring various areas of nutrition, health and other science fields.

As I gained extensive knowledge from the Nutrition and Health course, as well as the research skills necessary to produce these films, I am confident that myself and my team will be able to bring forward interesting and compelling films to enlighten audiences as to the newest developments in the field of nutrition and health.”

Something positive, something negative, and a take-home message for our students.

I am proud to have been involved in Service User and Carer involvement in one way or another for around 40 years or so now. One of the most exciting areas of activity, in my opinion, has been the involvement in professional education and in particular, Social Work courses.

Having a central budget and a requirement for our involvement has made a real difference. Nothing is perfect, but our involvement as Service Users and Carers has really changed Social Work education for the better in my opinion.

I believe that having Service User and Carer involvement from the start teaches students to work in more tailored and personable ways from the beginning, and I am proud to have been involved in this process alongside many others.

I am also involved in the disabled people’s and service user organisation, Shaping Our Lives. You can learn more about this network and find lots of helpful resources at:

A downside of Service User and Carer involvement from my point of view, is that it can often feel as though we are taking two steps forward and one step back due to financial cuts in services and regular changes in policy. Such events can set limits to the support available and can make it difficult for Service Users and Carers who are committed to making a difference.

So having covered the positive and the negative, I’d like to share a take-home message to our students:

There is no getting away from it – working in Health and Social Care can be difficult, but at the same time extremely rewarding and impactful. You are capable of making a positive difference to the lives of other people – the lives of people who are ‘up against it’ – sometimes more than you could ever imagine.

So, do the best you can and remember, you are being equipped with professional competencies and skills. If you combine these skills and listen to what Service Users and Carers say to you, then ultimately you are in the best position to assess what course of action will be most helpful.

Believe in yourself, stick by your patient, and never underestimate the importance of your role.

Profile image of Peter Beresford

Profile image of Peter Beresford

–  Professor Peter Beresford OBE

Professor Peter Beresford OBE is a leading figure in the arena of citizen participation and involvement, and perhaps the pre-eminent voice in relation to service user and carer participation in service design, delivery and evaluation. He is currently Professor of Citizen Participation at the University of Essex, Emeritus Professor of Social Policy at Brunel University, Co-Chair of independent user-controlled organisation, think tank and network Shaping Our Lives and a visiting professor at Edge Hill. In 2007 he was awarded his OBE and in 2016, he was named as one of the top 100 influential people in the UK in relation to issues of disability and impairment.