Innovative training at the SaIL Centre

Charitable donations funded the refurbishment of the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Simulation and Interactive Learning (SaIL) Centres, state-of-the-art patient simulator training facilities at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals.

The SaIL Centres provide healthcare students and staff across south London with the opportunity to practise and perfect even the most complex procedures, learn how to interact effectively with other members of the team and manage patients in a variety of clinical situations. This kind of innovative training can increase patient safety and improve patient management skills as training can be done away from the real clinical environment.

Practical learning

The comprehensive facility located at St Thomas’ hosts a mock GP consulting room, a six-bay ward, an operating theatre, a two-bedded A&E/intensive care ward and a home environment. There is also a facility on the Guy’s site with a dedicated two-bay ward environment and a large surgical simulation suite.

Advanced life-size manikins, known as human patient simulators (HPS), and actors serving as simulated patients, relatives and carers, are used on both sites to train participants in the non-technical skills required for patient safety such as communication, teamwork, decision-making, compassion and leadership. ‘We have driven the integration of care and compassion as essential elements of healthcare education, which has become integral to all the training we deliver,’ says Dr Peter Jaye, director of simulation.

Life-like scenarios

There is space provided at the St Thomas’ facility where clinical skills can be practised on a variety of training models. Not only can the full-body human patient simulators breathe, talk and respond to drugs but they even have audible heart and lung sounds, measurable blood pressures and pulse rates.

Users of the Guy’s and St Thomas’ SaIL Centres, including doctors, nurses, midwives and non-clinical staff, can be put into real-life scenarios such as performing resuscitation as well as dealing with patients in intensive care, and communicating with their relatives or carers. They can practise their roles in a variety of circumstances and afterwards reflect on how they managed potentially stressful and highly-charged situations.

This reflection is facilitated by trained faculty and supported with a video playback system allowing trainees to share what they learned from the various scenarios and to discuss what happened and how they felt. This provides an invaluable opportunity for trainees to be able to practise away from real life and to reflect on their own clinical practice, their interaction with patients and other members of the healthcare team, and the environments in which they work.

As well as the refurbishment of the SaIL Centre at St Thomas’, generous donations have funded a three-year Arts-based Learning Programme for healthcare staff and students, and a three-year Hands Up for Health Outreach Programme for local schools and youth groups, designed to inspire young people to work in healthcare and to reflect on their own health.

Leading research and innovation

The GSTT SaIL Centre’s approach has innovation at its core and is continually responsive to the local, regional and national strategies for health and healthcare education. The Centre has developed and delivered various training programmes specifically designed to support changing workforce needs.

‘Our fellowship programme, where we invite senior speciality trainee doctors to join the Centre as faculty for a year as they learn about simulation and medical education, has now generated over a dozen early-career consultants who are building their medical careers with a specific focus on educating future generations of clinicians,’ says Dr Gabriel Reedy, educational research lead. ‘Our research has generated new ways of thinking about how to improve the experience of patients,’ he says.

‘Because of the scale of the Centre, and the number of delegates who pass through the Centre each year, we have also been able to pilot and evaluate new approaches to using simulation. We actively share these innovations with other centres both nationally and internationally through direct exchanges of information and at key conferences,’ says Dr Peter Jaye.

‘In the last two quarters of this year, in addition to providing our routine patient safety courses, we have designed and implemented several new and innovative courses.’

‘These have allowed us to develop our experience in inter-professional training across varying patient pathways, including community healthcare, that will enhance both the experience and safety of patients and their families,’ he says.

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