School pupils put their hands up for health

Tuesday 1 March 2016

Becky Osei-Annin and Chelsea Moukam-Damke, sail centre

Budding doctors and nurses experienced life on the frontline of the NHS as they scrubbed up and spent a day-in-the-life of St Thomas’ Hospital.

Pupils from St Saviour’s and St Olave’s School in Southwark spent a day in St Thomas’ Simulation and Interactive Learning (SaIL) Centre, a state-of-the-art training facility used to train some of the best nurses and doctors in the country.

As part of an award-winning education programme, Hands up for Health, pupils took on roles in four fast-paced scenarios alongside real-life doctors and actors.

They experienced life as an elderly patient, by wearing an age simulation suit, delivered a baby, stitched up a wounded patient’s injury, and saved a patient’s life when he had an allergic reaction.

15-year-old Becky Osei-Annin took on the role of the anaesthetist when her ‘patient’, Frankie, needed stitches in his arm, before having an allergic reaction to medication. She said: “I had to reassure Frankie and ask him questions to make sure he wasn’t in shock, and I had to answer his questions to reassure him.

“I’ve learned a lot about working in a hospital today, you have to be fast and always keep asking questions because things can change so quickly.”

Frankie, also known as a human patient simulator, is used to provide healthcare professionals with a computer-based patient. The manikins breathe, talk, have audible heart and lung sounds, a measurable pulse rate, and can even be given drugs and fluids.

Chelsea Moukam-Damke, also 15, supported Becky and the team as she took on the role of the nurse. She said: “Frankie is very real. It was really strange when he responded to our questions. You wouldn’t expect him to respond to questions.

“A lot of things are unexpected in a hospital, you have to act so fast and look out for signs so that if anything goes wrong you’re able to fix it.

“I’ll take a lot away from the day. It’s actually useful in day-to-day life. Now, if someone at school had an allergic reaction, we’d know how to use an EpiPen to save their life.”

Hands Up for Health is the only known programme of its kind delivered by a hospital simulation centre. It has been developed by healthcare professionals in collaboration with simulation experts, local education services, students and teachers to ensure it is curriculum-based, and responds to the educational needs of young people. 

The SaIL Centre at St Thomas’ is one of the largest medical simulation centres in the UK. Its training facilities include a six-bed ward, operating theatre and an intensive care unit.

If you’re interested in a school visit to the SaIL Centre, contact: [email protected] or 020 7188 4802.

Find out more about the SaIL Centre

Last updated: March 2016

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