The Great Western Hospital is a 600 bed, district general hospital in Swindon, UK providing emergency care, surgery, diagnostics, pediatrics, maternity, and outpatient care services. 

In the late 1990’s, the hospital began integrating simulation into their existing staff training programs with the conviction that simulation training translates into improved quality of care and increased patient safety. The Educational Department (the Academy) currently trains about 2,000 individuals every year; internal and external hospital staff, healthcare providers of primary care trusts and select police force personnel.


Taking simulation to the ward

While the Educational Department is comprehensively equipped, there is a strong emphasis on team simulation training which is facilitated on the wards (in-situ), where people who work together also train together, in their own environment using their ordinary tools and familiar equipment. However, hospital employees are encouraged to make individual use of the simulation facilities in between these training sessions. Following all training, lengthy, personalized de-briefings contribute to refine and augment the learning outcome generated from the simulation experience. 

Frequently used simulated scenarios include:

  • acute critical illness
  • cardiac arrest
  • chest pain
  • coma
  • difficult airway/intubation
  • myocardial infarction
  • respiratory arrest

Training equipment to practice these scenarios includes SimMan, SimBaby, ALS Simulator, Resusci Anne Skills Station among other skill trainers and manikins. Recently, MicroSim (computer simulated clinical exercises) has been made available on the wards and is being utilized by physicians and nurses.