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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.

Simulation Leads: Vicky Perrin and Janet Burdon | Nursing

Vicky Perrin

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

We practice all types of skills within the clinical skills and simulation centre, including practical skills such as the taking of blood pressures and injection techniques, to more complex scenarios around service user assessment and diagnosis, as well as communication skills and professionalism.

How beneficial is simulation in your programme?

Simulation is integral to all of the programmes within the Faculty of health, social care and medicine, particularly nursing. It allows students to apply theory to practice in a safe environment, supporting the development of safe and effective care and increasing the confidence, problem solving and critical thinking skills.

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

I particularly enjoy any sessions where the students have to think outside the box, to see them being pushed outside of their comfort zone, and grow as a clinician as a result is really rewarding for me, and empowering for the student. Simulation and skills acquisition provides that opportunity.

What is your favourite piece of kit and why?

As a mental health nurse originally, rather than a favourite piece of kit, I like settings that mimic real life, so service users homes for example. Within these settings the students can practice and develop their communication skills, explore diagnosis and treatment options as well as debate ethical issues and consider the implications for practice.

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

Always come prepared, in most cases, pre reading or signposting to additional information is provided prior to a session. I would always recommend participating in this before the start, that way you will get the most out of the session and really enjoy the whole experience.

Janet Burdon

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

We practice Basic life support, Venepuncture, Manual BP, NG feeds, IV fluids, Catheterisation, Airway management, Suction and Medicines management in the Clinical Skills and Simulation centre.

How beneficial is simulation in your programme?

Very beneficial! Simulation enables students to link theory to practice and to bring different concepts together.

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

The Clinical Reasoning session with service users session focuses on communication and medicines management – this is my favourite session.

What is your favourite piece of kit and why?

My favourite piece of kit is definitely the manikins! I like the way they can communicate with students.

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

Prepare!!! Review the theory which relates to your upcoming simulation session. This will help you get the most out of the session.

#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.

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 👉

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