Reducing inappropriate hospital admissions is a key driver for the National Health Service due to the negative impact on patient wellbeing and the economy. The College of Paramedics and Health and Care Professions Council, state that paramedics must feel confident in supporting a diverse range of patients and utilising appropriate care pathways. At Kingston and St George’s University of London, the Department of Paramedics have devised a ‘Paramedic Approach and Management of Hospital Avoidance Module’ as part of the undergraduate BSc programme. This explores key themes such as patient empowerment and the value of interprofessional working.
Interprofessional education is a crucial element of enhancing communication between health and social care professionals and an effective way of valuing each other’s contribution, developing understanding and challenging stereotypes. This collaborative working allows for a multifaceted and holistic approach to patient care and as a result is a vital aspect of both clinical practice and the curricula (Barr, 2002).
This short communication will focus on a high fidelity, interprofessional simulation between student paramedics and learning disability (LD) student nurses. The scenario involved a professional actor with learning disabilities who was simulating living in a nursing home and presenting with abdominal and anxiety. The LD student nurses were initially present and handed over to the paramedic students. The learning objectives for this simulation were to explore patient assessment and pain management in cognitively impaired adults, effective communication (including the use of Makaton and understanding ‘Hospital Passports’) and the applicability of the Mental Capacity Act.
The simulation ran for fifteen minutes and followed by a debrief (led by a senior lecturer in LD nursing and Paramedic Science) between the students and the actor. This allowed for discussion around the roles of both professions, approach to patient management and created a space for mutual learning. This was well received by both cohorts of students and the actor who stated: ‘The set was amazing and made it easier to be in role. The paramedics were very friendly and lovely to work with.’
The development and embedding of further high fidelity interprofessional simulations that challenge the notion of silo working will remain both a departmental and organisational priority. The incorporation of service users within simulations add an immersive value that transcends beyond that the realms of traditional education methods and strives to create confident, empathetic and collaborative clinicians of the future.
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