Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly officially launched the Clinical Simulation and Interprofessional Education Facility at NUI Galway on March 4.
The new state-of-the-art facility marks a partnership between the University and the Saolta University Health Care Group.
Based at NUI Galway’s Clinical Science Institute on the grounds of University Hospital Galway, it is the largest and most modern facility of its kind on a clinical site in Ireland.
The training facility is also unique in its location being on both a medical site and medical school.
The new facility will provide education and training for more than 600 medical students in clinical years and accessible space for more than 4,000 multi-professional clinical staff in Galway University Hospitals.
The state-of-the-art space spans more than 20 immersive learning rooms fitted out to hospital standard and simulating all aspects of a leading healthcare environment.
All training rooms are fitted with high-powered cameras and audio-visual equipment with remote and observation spaces for assessing and reviewing learning.
Patients are replaced by complex manikins with physiological characteristics that respond to medical treatments and procedures in safe and realistic environments.
Minster Donnelly said the new facility would provide a very high standard of training for medical students and healthcare providers.
“Advances such as this have tangible benefits to the staff delivering quality care within our health service and this, of course, benefits patients.
This type of innovation and forward thinking is what will help to elevate the delivery of our world class health service and it is the cornerstone of the future of healthcare in Ireland,” Minister Donnelly finished.
Healthcare simulation is an approach to training and education that aims to improve the safety, efficiency and effectiveness of clinical care through high impact, evidence-based training.
There is growing evidence that it contributes to increased quality of patient care and survival.
The official opening took place alongside the launch of the National Strategic Guide for the Implementation of Simulation on Clinical Sites.
The National Chief Academic Officers, working with Dr Colm Henry, Health Service Executive Chief Clinical Officer and the National Doctors Training and Planning have advocated for simulation and the development of the guide.
The guide was written by Professor of Simulation Education Dara Byrne, School of Medicine, NUI Galway and Saolta University Health Care Group and the simulation team at NUI Galway to support the strategic development of similar facilities on clinical sites in Ireland.
Professor Byrne said: “The old, apprentice-style of learning for healthcare students and clinicians is no longer considered acceptable because of the increasing concern for the quality of patient care and safety and change in health care systems.
“As a result, there are fewer opportunities for the student to experience and build confidence dealing with a wide variety of diseases, traumas and treatment responses.
Professor Byrne added that simulation training is of greater importance given the limitations Covid-19 restrictions placed on students’ direct contact with clinical settings.
Professor Antony O’Regan, Director of Postgraduate Clinical Education, Saolta University Health Care Group and NUI Galway, said the launch marked a milestone for the West of Ireland.
“Saolta and NUI Galway aspire to be leaders in undergraduate and postgraduate medical education both nationally and internationally,” said Professor O’Regan.
“This is reflected in the ongoing work to establish resources for clinical simulation across our region in order to support inter-professional education and lifelong learning.
“We are looking forward to the future and continued strategic development of our academic infrastructure and resources that are vital to patient care.”