Use of simulation for pre-hospital healthcare education

01 August 2013
Volume 3 · Issue 3


Simulation is increasingly being utilised for pre-hospital professional education in Europe. To ensure this growth continues, it is important that experience is shared throughout Europe to help ‘spread the word’ and share examples of ‘best practice’. The Society in Europe for Simulation Applied to Medicine (SESAM) is an organisation which was set up to help facilitate and exchange knowledge about the use of simulation in medical (and paramedical) education throughout Europe. Previous SESAM annual meetings have not attracted significant numbers of delegates from the pre-hospital professions. This could be because previous programmes have not had much direct relevance for this audience. Working with the SESAM executive committee for the 2012 annual meeting in Stavanger, the authors helped co-ordinate a group of European pre-hospital simulation educationalists to create a programme of presentations and workshops designed to be directly relevant to a pre-hospital professional audience. Attendance overall for the 2012 annual meeting in Stavanger was significantly higher than in 2011 and it appears that more pre-hospital professionals attended in 2012 (but this cannot be supported in this paper). The increased emphasis placed on pre-hospital simulation in Stavanger helped create a specific SESAM supported network (Pre-Hospital Special Interest Group or PH-SIG) and this network will help share simulation ‘best practice’ amongst European pre-hospital professionals in the future.

It can be argued that the first use of a mannequin for healthcare simulation was in the 1960s with the introduction of the Resusci Anne mannequin (Jeffries, 2007). In 1964, it was reported that this mannequin was used in a low fidelity simulation educational study for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) skills acquisition which involved paramedics and lay people (Winchell et al, 1966). Resusci Anne has to date helped train over 350 million people globally with ‘hands on’ CPR training, and a significant proportion of this total has been with individuals involved with pre-hospital healthcare.

During the 1980s the use of simulation for aviation and military training was investigated by anaesthesia educators. However, it was the introduction of affordable, portable and versatile patient simulators (such as SimMan) in the late 1990s and 2000s, which helped stimulate the wider global adoption of simulation for healthcare education. The Chief Medical Officers Report for England and Wales in 2009 recommended that simulation training in ‘all its forms’ was to be a vital part of building a safer healthcare system (Donaldson, 2009) and therefore central to improving patient safety.The use of simulation for the training of pre-hospital healthcare staff in Europe in this context has, until relatively recently, primarily made use of basic simulation techniques and tools. It was reported in 2009 that ambulance personnel in the UK still have too few opportunities to take part in realistic simulation exercises with appropriate and relevant debriefing and reflection. This report went on to state that increased investment by ambulance services in this area may improve the quality of patient care in the future (Alinier, 2007). There is evidence that this is now occurring more widely (Alinier, 2010). However, what is also required is a suitable international forum to help disseminate the benefit of simulation for pre-hospital care and share examples of ‘best-practice’ globally.

Subscribe to get full access to International Paramedic Practice

Thank you for visiting International Paramedic Practice and reading our archive of expert clinical content. If you would like to read more from the only journal dedicated to those working in emergency care, you can start your subscription today for just £48.

What's included

  • CPD Focus

  • Develop your career

  • Stay informed