Innovative training gets regional award nod

An innovative training programme that takes healthcare staff away from the classroom and places them firmly at the centre of busy ward life has been highlighted with a prestigious award nomination.

The team behind TWIST – Trust Wide Interprofessional Simulation Training – at the Great Western Hospital were praised at Health Education England’s recent Star Awards for their work in giving doctors and nurses a training experience that closely mirrors real-life scenarios.

With the help of George – a synthetic patient which can recreate almost every human sound, action and bodily function, the TWIST team help staff to practice lifesaving techniques and procedures on what is the next best thing to a living breathing patient.

And with the training taking place entirely on the wards of the busy Swindon hospital, staff can practice their work while still juggling the distractions and conflicting demands that come from being at the centre of such a lively and energetic surrounding.

Nurse Practitioner Neal Aplin attended the Somerset award ceremony at the beginning of March with colleague David Priscott, Lead Nurse for Simulation Training.

Despite not bringing the prize for Education and Training Team of the Year back to Swindon, Neal said: “It was a great honour just to be chosen as a finalist and it gave myself and David the opportunity to hear about some of the fantastic work that’s taking place in our neighbouring hospitals.”

An added benefit of taking the training to the ward is that the teams learn how to carry out new ways of working with the equipment, tools and instruments they are already familiar with and would be using if the scenario was genuine.

Patient safety has benefited from the TWIST team’s unique style of training too, with the number of incidents involving the failure to rescue a deteriorating patient falling to zero in each ward where the realistic sessions have taken place.

Overwhelmingly positive feedback from staff post-training also shows that the simulation exercises have struck a chord with lifesavers themselves.

A permanent annual fixture in the regional NHS calendar, Health Education England’s Star Awards recognise the very best in education and training from hospitals across the south west of England.

It is now the second year in a row that the Trust has been recognised at the awards, with last year’s ceremony highlighting the work of the Great Western Hospital’s Palliative Care team in educating ward staff on the importance of a personalised approach to end-of-life care.

Visit to view the full list of winners and finalists from this year’s Star Awards.