Introduction: One of the challenges of delivering safe, reliable, quality health care is ensuring the workforce have access to the right training at the right time wherever they are practising. Like other high reliability fields, healthcare education has recognised the important role of simulation based education in embedding a culture of readiness for practice. Managed clinical networks (MCNs) have a proven track record in enhancing services for patients. Adapting this approach to ensuring the healthcare workforce has access to the right training at the right time can provide a more equitable national approach to simulation based education. One of the advantages of the MCN concept has been the flexibility to respond to local needs while reliably delivering national standards.
Methods: This article shares 5 years of data from a mobile simulation unit (MSU) analysed using the principles of a national managed educational network (MEN). An action research approach was used to identify how the MSU was changing the delivery of simulation based education as part of a national MEN for clinical skills education. One of the key deliverables of the Scottish Clinical Skills Strategy was to support the training needs of the National Health Service workforce, particularly in remote and rural Scotland. The MSU was proposed as part of the solution to the 'inequity of provision of clinical skills education using simulation'. Between 2014 and 2018, data were collected by the Clinical Skills Managed Educational Network (CSMEN) team on the performance of the MSU. Venues visited, job titles of participants and courses attended (a mix of local and national) were recorded by the venue hosts and collated by CSMEN staff.
Results: Evidence of the impact of the MSU using the seven MEN principles to analyse the data (functioning with explicit management arrangements, embedding systems of accountability, agreed expected outcomes, using an evidence base, having a multiprofessional and multidisciplinary focus, engaging in a system of dissemination, generating better value for money and engaging in research and development) are shared.
Conclusion: Few examples of mobile simulation facilities exist in the UK, and none have the longevity of the CSMEN MSU. The results of the analysis supported the business case for an upgraded new MSU and identified the need to explore in more depth the variation in impact across the venues visited. However, some localities did not use the MSU during 2014-2018 and there are still some unanswered questions around its impact in some venues, which require further exploration.
- clinical skills
- managed educational network
- mobile simulation unit
- mobile skills unit
- simulation based education