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Innovative approach for critical care nurse training

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A group of critical care nurses in Hull have trialled new training on the safe transfer of severely ill patients involving the use of lifelike mannequins.

The innovative course was developed by the critical care teacher trainers team at Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust.

Thirteen nurses from both Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital in Hull recently took part in a pilot.

“It is important that our critical care nurses are prepared for any eventuality”

Vicky Needler

The hands-on training – known as SCRIPT (Safe Critical Ill Patient Transfer) – used simulation mannequins to create realistic scenarios and was supported by the Hull Institute of Learning and Simulation and Yorkshire Ambulance Service.

Nurses took part in practical workshops followed by the simulated transfer of a patient for a CT scan and another mocked-up scenario involving the transfer of a patient from ward to ambulance.

Each exercise finished up with a thorough debrief and discussion of lessons learned.

Vicky Needler, critical care teacher trainer, said this kind of training was not generally available to nurses but it was time this changed.

“Training in the transfer of critically ill patients is given to medical ICU staff automatically but this is not something we, or indeed many other trusts, have previously been offering to our nurses,” she said.

“The introduction of the SCRIPT course gives critical care nursing staff the chance to practice their skills in a safe and supportive environment,” said Ms Needler.

“This doesn’t just equip them with the technical skills they need but it also allows them to practice their communication skills and see how they work together in a pressurised situation,” she added.

The trust, which is a trauma centre, has 44 critical care beds and about 170 critical care nurses.

“There are all sorts of things that could potentially go wrong with the movement of a patient from equipment failure to a dislodged line or the patient starting to deteriorate,” said Ms Needler.

“So it is important that our critical care nurses are prepared for any eventuality,” she stated.

She said it was particularly useful to have the chance to train in an ambulance alongside ambulance staff.

“All transfers, no matter how near or far, rely on effective team working from a number of different disciplines and this is something we’re really keen to help people practice and improve on,” she said.

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