A new clinical simulation centre that can emulate scenes such as a nightclub fire or roadside crash to train the next generation of paramedics has been opened by Sadiq Khan, MP for Tooting.
Based in the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education run jointly by Kingston University and St George’s, University of London, the Paramedic Clinical Simulation Centre includes a hi-tech immersion room which uses 3D technology to emulate real-life settings allowing students to practice emergency scenarios.
The centre also includes two life-sized fully fitted rear sections of ambulances that are equipped to the specification of the London Ambulance Service which enables students to gain vital experience of working in such a confined space when responding to emergency calls and transferring this skill into practice when doing the important job of a paramedic on the roads of Greater London and other regions.
The centre also includes three purpose built rooms that simulate settings paramedics would normally encounter in a home including a kitchen and a bathroom. It also houses a skills acquisition laboratory, where students can practise evasive procedures such as suturing on mannequins.
Sadiq Khan, MP for Tooting, said: "As a potential patient, this facility makes me feel safer. The simulation suite can recreate the noise and chaos of a nightclub. Students here will be the best trained graduates in the country with this simulation training.
"We love this university, St George's, and the hospital."
Professor Andy Kent, Dean of the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education and Pro-Vice Chancellor, said: "The Paramedic Clinical Simulation Centre is a new approach to paramedic education and training and our investment in specialist equipment including the immersion room makes it a unique facility of its kind within a UK university.
"It gives students the opportunity to gain vital hands-on training in a true-to-life setting, with sensory stimulation provided through interactive projected walls, light, sound and visual effects all adding to the authentic feel of their learning.
"If we need to teach them how to treat a fractured ankle in a nightclub, for example, complete with noise, music, smoke and people, we now can recreate this environment and immerse students within it."
Students registered with Kingston and St George’s for the new three year BSc (Hons) Paramedic Science degree programme are introduced to the facilities offered by the centre throughout the course, beginning in the skills lab. Students are then encouraged to develop these skills further by practising them within room mock-ups that reproduce the facilities within a typical house. Finally, students use the immersion room to get a virtually real life experience.
Training sessions are filmed and can be viewed live or played back for debriefing at any stage by lecturers. In this way essential skills are acquired in a safe but realistic environment prior to practice placements with the ambulance service.
Kingston and St George’s work closely with the London Ambulance Service and South East Coast Ambulance Service alongside other health service bodies to provide a comprehensive range of education and training for next generation of paramedics in additional to serving the continuing workforce development needs for those already employed by both ambulances services. The new centre will, therefore, play an important part in addressing the ever changing and increasingly demanding role of paramedic and emergency service providers for the Greater London and South East regions.