Thursday, 19 December 2013

SimTechDay 2013: Backseat drivers take centre stage by Scott Rudnicki-Bayne

Simulation Technicians, we take care of the equipment, set-up scenarios, make the “magic” work. We’re confederates and actors. We keep scenarios on track, the guys and gals who ride in the backseat of the simulation education wagon. The inaugural Scottish Clinical Simulation Centre’s (SCSC) SimTechDay on the 27th of November 2013 was our day to take centre stage. Techs and other interested parties from all over Scotland descended on Forth Valley Royal Hospital (FVRH) in Larbert to network, share ideas and thoughts, and hear from our guest presenters.

Guest presenters:

Mannequin maintenance by Ian White (Laerdal) 
  • Ian White, a Laerdal Field Service Engineer, spoke about Laerdal’s commitment to improve after-sales and technical support, whilst also providing a few tips on maintaining the appearance of SimMan
  • Kevin Stirling, Lecturer in Simulation, University of Dundee and Finance Director, ASPiH, talked about the role of ASPiH and how Scottish SimTech could integrate this meeting into the national networks of technicians and how ASPiH might be able to support this.
  • Andrew Middleton, Scotia UK, who presented a piece on “Effective Video and Audio Recording for Simulation and Debrief” as well as showing us some new AV kit.
  • Nick Gosling, from St. Georges Advanced Patient Simulator Centre, talked about Mobile Simulation Strategies, which gave us a lot to consider when taking our simulated patients out to “in-situ” or “mobile” scenarios.
  • Sarah of Sarah’s Scars, who showed us how to create realistic-looking burns and an open wound with stage make-up, which will undoubtedly help increase the fidelity of our scenarios.
Presenters were available throughout the day to speak with us about any specific issues we had or developments we’d like to see.

What went well?

Don't do this at home
On reflection some aspects worked out really well. The support from presenters, attendees, sponsors and the SCSC team was fantastic. The ability to network and discuss issues with people in similar fields was both rewarding and motivating. Every presentation provided something for everyone: Ian White showed how to use talcum powder to improve the feel of, and minimise adhesive residue remaining on, SimMan's arms. Kevin Stirling initiated debate on a Tech Room at ASPiH.  Andrew Middleton provided individual support on SMOTs. Nick Gosling shared his huge wealth of knowledge and experience in simulation and Sarah made moulage look simple.

What were the challenges?

It's just a flesh wound.
There were also areas to improve upon, both in terms of organising and hosting an event like this. The programme was overpopulated for the time available, which meant some of the presentations were a bit rushed. Next time I’d try to provide time for the presentations rather than squeezing presentations into the time. I’d also consider using more rooms, for 2 reasons. Firstly, due to the overwhelming interest we sadly had to turn some people down who wished to attend. Secondly, the variety of techs (i.e. some university, some healthcare, some new to the role, some involved for years) had widely varying levels of knowledge and experience. So a larger number of attendees might give us the opportunity to have parallel sessions which could be tailored to suit the two distinct groups, where appropriate. I will also work on my skills as chair, e.g. formally introducing presenters and ensuring appreciation of their time and efforts is verbalised more clearly.  

Final thoughts

All in all a great day, focusing on some of the issues in our wide and varied job descriptions. A big thank you to all who attended, presented and helped make this event the success that it was. The feedback from the attendees was excellent and the planning has already started for SimTechDay 2014.

Scott Rudnicki-Bayne (SimTech, Scottish Clinical Simulation Centre, Larbert)

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