Project Report

Analysis of the use of a mobile simulation unit using the principles of a managed educational network


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Andrea Baker1
PhD, Manager *

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Lynn Hardie2
Project Officer

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Susan Somerville3
MSc, Lecturer

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Jean Ker4
MD, Associate Postgraduate Dean and Clinical Lead


1, 2, 4 Clinical Skills Managed Educational Network, NHS Education for Scotland, Dundee, UK

3 Centre for Medical Education, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK

ACCEPTED: 24 January 2021

early abstract:

Introduction: One of the challenges in 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 organisations healthcare education has recognised the important role simulation based education can have in embedding a culture of readiness for practice. Managed Clinical Networks (MCN) have a proven track record in enhancing services for patients. Adapting this approach to ensuring the health care 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 paper shares five 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 NHS 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 was collected by the CSMEN (Clinical Skills Managed Educational Network) team on the performance of the mobile simulation unit. A record of venues visited, job titles of participants, 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 multi-professional and multidisciplinary focus, engaging in a system of dissemination, generating better value for money and engaging in research and development) are shared.  
Conclusions: 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, there are some localities who have not used the MSU over the past five years and there are still some unanswered questions around its impact in some venues which requires further exploration.