Day in the life of a Clinical Skills and Simulation Technician

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Fire College Story

Justin Cule, Clinical Skills and Simulation Manager, talks us through a unique collaboration between Brookes and the Fire Service College.

It was a chilly weekday night and my colleague Mairead and I were stood on the side of the carriageway in the middle of Morton-in-Marsh in Gloucestershire.

We were at the Fire Service College, a national training centre for the fire and rescue services that’s world-renowned for emergency services training.

It offers courses in fire prevention and protection, and also provides assessed, accredited and assured training for emergency service professionals globally.

Over the last few years, the Paramedic programme have been working in partnership with the Fire Service College and Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service to deliver training for their final year students.

As this project has evolved, our clinical skills and simulation team have been developing the simulation side of this training. And this is how Mairead and I ended up on the side of a motorway at 8pm, watching fire engines and ambulances pull up to a massive road traffic collision. Spread over 6 lanes and involving 10 cars, two HGVs and one motorbike, it was quite the simulation.

We had spent an hour or so moulaging (aka applying mock injuries to) the student paramedics taking part as causalities in the scenario. It was challenging!

We had 12 casualties to make up with ‘life-threatening’ injuries and a further five with ‘limb-threatening’ injuries. An hour isn’t a lot of time to seriously injure 17 students (with makeup)! I was somewhat proud, however, when Georgette (a paramedic Senior Lecturer) walked into our moulage room and gasped in horror at the students’ faces.

However, reality hit home when Mairead and I were roped in to act as ‘walking wounded’ causalities within one of the vehicles. As soon as the incident started, the screams began.

Run in real time, it was dark and incredibly eerie to be in a car on a (simulated) motorway, awaiting rescue. As the incident unfolded, we were extricated and then triaged.

We also got to witness the reactions of the fire, police and ambulance services to our moulaged students. In the dark, pierced by the bright lights from the fire engines the students looked incredibly realistic, and the emergency services thought so too.

This was a fantastic opportunity to be involved with and it was clear through the whole incident how valuable this learning experience is. For the emergency services, they were able to complete training in managing a multiple-vehicle and inter-agency incident.

For the paramedic students, they were able to view the incident from the other side as service users. And we were able to see the impact our moulage had within the simulated exercise, as well as be patients ourselves!

So, next time Georgette asks us to visit Gloucestershire on a bitterly cold evening, Mairead and I will absolutely be there to assist in the provision of such an invaluable experience to the student paramedics.