CEGA Air Ambulance recently brought together its medical crews for a simulation training day in a fixed wing air ambulance; thought to be the first of its kind to be held in Europe.
The day was developed by Dr Alistair Johnstone and CEGA's Senior Flight Nurse Stuart Cox, who wrote a series of realistic patient scenarios, covering a range of core medical emergencies and competencies. Their aim was to translate previous paperwork based lectures into a realistic working environment.
The team demonstrated resuscitation and defibrillation procedures in CEGA's air ambulance: using a high fidelity mannequin with breathing functions, palpable pulses and blood pressure displays. The physical space, engine sound and location of medical equipment enabled crews to improve their situational awareness and decision making in critical situations. As one participant stated: "It's easy to undertake defibrillation in a classroom, but on an air ambulance it's more challenging".
CEGA's Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tim Hammond, also added: "Simulation training in an aircraft can provide medical crews with valuable hands-on experience in a safe and controlled environment; both by promoting a positive patient safety culture and assisting crews to develop teamwork and communication."
The medical and aviation teams debriefed together after each scenario, leading to wide ranging but focused discussions; emphasising key learning points and allowing time for reflective practice. The feedback received showed an overwhelmingly positive response from participants, with many submitting ideas for future simulation situations.
CEGA will now include simulation training as part of its mandatory training programme and multifaceted educational strategy. Dr Tim Hammond concludes: "This training for our medical crews complements the simulation training given to CEGA pilots and is a testament to our commitment to be at the forefront of patient safety initiatives."
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