Hospital training facility marks its fifth anniversary by unveiling new interactive suite
A high-tech interactive suite has been unveiled at a state-of-the-art simulation hub for medical training and education.
The new development at DASH, based at Ashington’s Wansbeck General Hospital, uses a three-walled set-up to create scenarios that immerse learners in a range of realistic environments.
Wards, rooms or operating theatres from around Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s hospitals can be photographed and then mapped on the walls to create real-world surroundings for training, while the floor-to-ceiling touchscreens can also be used to explore the human body.
Different teams ranging from anaesthetists and surgeons to emergency doctors and nurses and those in palliative care can develop their own teaching programmes as the technology is fully customisable.
A special event to mark the hub’s fifth birthday and the opening of the interactive suite was attended by Wansbeck MP, Ian Lavery.
Dr James McFetrich, an emergency care consultant who is also Northumbria’s director of simulation, said: “The event was a nice way to reflect on the past five years and how far DASH has come.
“DASH is a forward-thinking facility which is always looking to explore interesting opportunities for further developments as it strives to provide the best possible teaching and training environment.
"All of this is in support of providing high-quality patient care.”
Dinwoodie Assessment and Simulation Hub (DASH) hosted its first simulation course in September 2016 before being officially opened by the Duchess of Northumberland two months later.
Manager Nicky Jenkins, who runs the facility alongside simulation technician John Stratford, said: “It’s really gratifying now to look back over the past five years as I always felt that having a flexible, realistic teaching environment would be of real benefit and that has certainly proved to be the case, providing an excellent facility for all sorts of medical education and training.
“There were some at the outset who thought that DASH would not necessarily be that well-used, but it is now fully booked most of the time.”
In addition to weekly sessions for medical undergraduates, DASH hosts a variety of teaching opportunities, examinations and assessments, and multi-professional courses from basic clinical skills training days to high-fidelity team scenarios and external bookings.
Its permanent residents are the manikins, including Bernie, who can sweat, froth, his pupils dilate, his tongue swells from anaphylaxis, and he has a pulse, heart and lung sounds. There are tanks in his legs which can store blood before being ejected from various points on his body.
There is also a mum who gives birth, a baby which can have seizures, and Viv, a 100% silicon, extremely realistic manikin created by Lifecast Body Simulation, at Elstree Film Studios in London.
Mr Lavery said: “I was delighted to be able to visit DASH and see everything that it has to offer.
"It’s vital that the next generation of medics have the best training opportunities so that Wansbeck and the Trust’s other hospitals can continue to serve my constituents as well as they have for many years.”
Graham Chadwick, founder and owner of Gener8-Healthcare, which developed the interactive suite. “It’s been a pleasure to work with Nicky and John on this project at DASH, as it has been clear to us how keen they are to continue to innovate and provide the best technology to support medical teaching and training.”