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Minster for Health officially opens world-class medical training facility at NUI Galway

Clinical simulation and interprofessional education facility developed in partnership with Saolta University Health Care Group

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly T.D. today officially launches the Clinical Simulation and Interprofessional Education Facility at NUI Galway.

The state-of-the-art space spans more than 20 immersive learning rooms, across 100m2. They are fitted out to hospital standard and simulating all aspects of a leading healthcare environment.

All training rooms are fitted with high-powered cameras and audio-visual equipment with remote and observation spaces for assessing and reviewing learning.

Patients are replaced by complex manikins. They have physiological characteristics that respond to medical treatments as well as procedures in safe and realistic environments.

It is based at NUI Galway’s Clinical Science Institute, on the grounds of University Hospital Galway. It is the largest and also the most modern facility of its kind on a clinical site in Ireland.

The facility is a partnership between NUI Galway and Saolta University Health Care Group.

Minster Donnelly said: “This new facility at NUI Galway is at the forefront of delivering the best quality teaching and learning for our medical students and healthcare providers. Healthcare simulation brings the students and professionals together in a modern methodology for training.

“Advances such as this have tangible benefits to the staff delivering quality care within our health service. This, of course, benefits patients. This type of innovation and forward thinking is what will help to elevate the delivery of our world class health service. It is therefore, the cornerstone of the future of healthcare in Ireland.”

Healthcare simulation is an approach to training and education that aims to improve the safety, efficiency and effectiveness of clinical care through high impact, evidence-based training. There is growing evidence that it contributes to increased quality of patient care and survival.

NUI Galway Clinical Simulation and Interprofessional Education Facility

Unique in Ireland – co-located on a clinical site and medical school – the facility includes:

:: Skills labs, operating theatres, ICU space, emergency bays, in-patient wards, outpatient consultation rooms, delivery suites.

:: Complex manikins range in age from premature infants to adults and maternity manikins simulate pregnancy and childbirth.

:: Audio-visual system for recording training, streaming and linking to all areas of Saolta University Health Care Group

:: Education and training for more than 600 medical students in clinical years and accessible space for more than 4,000 multi-professional clinical staff in Galway University Hospitals.

:: Observational rooms with one-way glass and multi-functional rooms with mobile furniture, easily switching from clinical to tutorial and debrief rooms.

The official opening took place alongside the launch of the National Strategic Guide for the Implementation of Simulation on Clinical Sites.

The National Chief Academic Officers, working with Dr Colm Henry, Health Service Executive Chief Clinical Officer, and the National Doctors Training and Planning, have championed simulation and the development of the guide.

The guide was written by Professor of Simulation Education Dara Byrne, School of Medicine, NUI Galway and Saolta University Health Care Group. The simulation team at NUI Galway to support the strategic development of similar facilities on clinical sites in Ireland.

Professor Byrne said: “The old, apprentice-style of learning for healthcare students and clinicians is no longer considered acceptable. This is because of the increasing concern for quality of patient care and safety and change in health care systems.

“As a result, there are fewer opportunities for the student to experience and build confidence. This is  when dealing with a wide variety of diseases, traumas and treatment responses. As well as that, Covid-19 shone a light on the importance of simulation based education. The pandemic severely limited direct clinical exposure for students as well as trainees.”

Professor Antony O’Regan, Director of Postgraduate Clinical Education, Saolta University Health Care Group and NUI Galway spoke about it

He said: “The launch today is a milestone for the west of Ireland. It represents the integrated work across the university and health sectors. It also highlights the potential benefits of developing Academic Health Science Systems.

“Saolta and NUI Galway aspire to be leaders in undergraduate and postgraduate medical education both nationally and internationally. This is reflected in the ongoing work to establish resources for clinical simulation across our region in order to support inter-professional education and lifelong learning.

“We are looking forward to the future and continued strategic development of our academic infrastructure and resources that are vital to patient care”.

The National Strategic Guide for the Implementation of Simulation on Clinical Sites provides a framework for the resourcing and delivery of sustainable simulation that is multi-professional with a focus in team training for patient safety.

It identifies the priority areas that should be addressed in establishing and delivering high quality healthcare simulation facilities, including human factors testing of new hospital equipment and medical devices before introduction to the clinical environment, of particular importance to the medtech industry in Galway.

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