Generations of healthcare staff and trainees will benefit from a new training facility, named the Clinical Skills Lab at the University Hospital of Hartlepool.
Using state-of-the-art medical manikins, simulation devices and high-tech equipment, the dedicated space will be used by trainees and qualified healthcare professionals to upgrade their skills.
The Clinical Skills Lab will host training for a multitude of medical treatments, including basic life support, venepuncture (withdrawing blood from a vein) and catheterisation (draining the bladder through a tube).
One new training development is the choking simulation vest which provides a safe method of practising abdominal thrusts (sometimes referred to as the ‘Heimlich Manoeuvre’).
Previously, the potential damage that the procedure could cause meant training was limited to a verbal explanation. The new vest allows the manoeuvre to be practiced without the risk of harm.
Karen Hampshire, clinical educator, said: “We wanted to create a new training space, in a hospital setting that looks and feels like a ward to create a realistic scenario to learn in. It’s a much more life-like training simulation.
“The lab will be part of the training for up to 100 people a month and the skills they learn here will benefit our patients for years to come.
“We’ve run a few sessions already and the feedback has been great. Staff really like having the chance to practice in a venue that looks and feels real.”
Investing in the future
The Clinical Skills Lab will also be used to train ‘T Level’ students – usually 16-18 year olds studying technical qualifications equivalent to A Levels.
Laura Dring, clinical educator, said: “Investing in the future of our training is essential if we’re going to continue to meet the needs of our patients.
“Our current colleagues will be improving their skills and knowledge but we’re also excited about the young trainees who we hope will be inspired to take up a career in health care.
“What better way to guarantee the future of our region’s health care than drawing our future colleagues from our local community?”
Value for money
The training facility represents excellent value for money, costing just £12,000 to develop.
The new Clinical Skills Lab, on the fourth floor of the University Hospital of Hartlepool, is now operational and delivering training on a full-time basis.