Nurses and other mental healthcare professionals in North London are now able to boost their communications skills using a new simulation suite – one of the first available in such a setting.
Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust has become one of the first mental health providers in England to open a simulation suite to support clinical staff develop their skills for communicating with patients, including in sensitive situations.
“Our new simulation suite is an excellent resource”
The suite, comprising a large simulation room with cameras and an adjacent control and observation studio, will be available for trainee psychiatrists and other staff including mental health nurses.
Props and furniture will be used to set up the room in a variety of different scenarios such as a private living room, clinic room or an in-patient ward.
There is also a bed with an electronic medical manikin for learning key medical checks such as pulse and heart rate monitoring, giving injections and resuscitation techniques.
On the other side of a one-way mirror is a smaller studio where trainers can observe, record and playback filmed simulation exercises, often using a specialist actor to role play the part of a patient in different scenarios.
The suite can also be used for health professionals to develop their overall presentation skills and provide training for witness testimonies in court or at inquests.
The suite has been opened at the trust’s main St Pancras Hospital site and financed through a £74,000 grant from Health Education England.
A separate, but similarly funded bid enabled the recruitment of Dr Daniel Hughes, as Psychiatry Simulation Fellow to drive the project.
Dr Ruth Allen, the trust’s director of medical education, said: “Our new simulation suite is an excellent resource for helping our staff develop and enhance their interpersonal and communication skills.
“Effective dialogue and interaction between our health professionals and our service users requires experience and confidence and our new simulation suite will help develop this within our staff,” she said.
She added: “It will also have a key role in developing our staff’s physical health care competence and skills and this is a key area to focus on.”
Mental health nurses train with simulation suite