The NWSEN was originally set up by NHS North West in 2009. It had been identified that pockets of simulation training existed in the region but that the opportunities and benefits of simulation were not being fully realised. Looking more closely at some of the possible reasons for this, it became clear - some organisations had purchased simulators in the past which were either under-utilised or not used at all due to lack of training in their use or the original trainer had moved on; that simulation practice varied between organisations; that availability and access to this type of training for staff of all healthcare disciplines was random throughout the region, and that there was no universal standard of simulation practice set by which to achieve a consistency in quality and pre-defined learning objectives and outcomes.
Creating a Faculty of Expertise
While simulation offers many benefits in healthcare training over traditional methods, it requires not just capital investment but a coordinated approach to its implementation. Sir Liam Donaldson in his Chief Medical Officer’s report (2008) recommended – ‘A skilled faculty of expert clinical facilitators should be developed to deliver high-quality simulation training’. Neal Jones, Network Manager said, “The NWSEN’s Faculty Development Course is just one pro-active initiative we are taking in response to this recommendation. Irrespective of a climate of leaner times for the NHS, we realised there are many opportunities on which we can capitalise. There are simulators already in place in many organisations. We need to maximise their use and apply ‘joined-up thinking’ within the network to create a universal framework and deliver a standardised quality of practice. By pooling our knowledge and experiences together we will be able to progress the use of simulation much further than is currently the case.”
Identifying the learning needs
The NWSEN faculty development course has been designed to cover two specific learning outcomes, Technical competence and Educational competence.
The technical competence day is delivered in conjunction with the simulator manufacturer and delivers sessions on putting your simulator together, maintenance and repair and covers various methods of simulator control and programming.
Day one is intended for staff with a responsibility for technical side of simulation.
Day two is designed to meet the needs of the simulation educators and covers subjects such as educational theory, human factors and de-briefing as well as scenario design and scenario facilitation techniques.
Both days include pre & post course e-learning modules and online assessment and the courses are free of charge to all staff involved in the delivery of simulation based training across the North West of England.
Since their introduction in October 2010, 15 two day courses have already taken place with excellent feedback from participating delegates and a full programmed delivery across six host sites spanning the North West has been planned throughout 2011.