Medical training on robot patients expands education opportunities

NHS Borders staff train with a state of the art simulator
NHS Borders staff train with a state of the art simulator

WHILE the health board has welcomed the unveiling of a new training centre which will allow doctors and nurses to hone their skills on robot patients, NHS Borders has already embraced similar technology to train staff.

Last week saw the opening of the Scottish Clinical Simulation Centre, based at the Forth Valley Royal Hospital, which will allow NHS staff and students from across the country to improve their skills by practising on life-like hi-tech mannequins in simulated operating theatres.

The family of seven robots includes ‘Stan’, who is the only one of his kind in Scotland. He can respond to anaesthetic gases and is used to train anaesthetists.

Another resident is ‘Reg’, who has a heartbeat, can give blood and describe his symptoms. Reg is used to train emergency doctors and nurses. There is also a baby, two children and a pregnant woman mannequin.

Speaking at the opening health minister Alec Neil said the new centre showed the NHS in Scotland was “moving with the times”. NHS Borders medical director Dr Sheena Macdonald said: “The Scottish Simulation Centre is focused on improving patient safety using simulation–based education in a safe and non-threatening environment and is a great addition to medical training.”

A major drive for improved patient safety has seen NHS Borders build on simulation-based education techniques over the past four years.

The simulation sessions provide opportunities to refine skills, behaviour and understanding required for effective team work and improved patient care in safe non-threatening environments.

Advanced human patient simulators have the ability to speak and mimic medical conditions exposing health care professionals to some of the challenges of patient care.

The simulation sessions are filmed and recorded allowing staff to analyse their performance.

NHS Borders is now taking the simulations out of the clinical skills laboratory and into the clinical areas such as dentistry, endoscopy and CT Scan, allowing staff a very realistic experience to enhance patient care.