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Nursing academics explore life in the operating room for training film

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Published on 29 March 2022

Training video
Training video

Communication in the operating room is key to saving lives and healthy outcomes as nursing staff at the University of Sunderland have demonstrated during a training video through a new partnership. 

Staff at the Helen McArdle Nursing and Care Research Institute and School of Nursing and Health Sciences have been working with Olympus, a global company providing advanced medical technology solutions, filming an educational video about communication in the operating room. 

Recorded in the University’s Living Lab Simulation Suite - which reflects various care provision settings such as operating theatres, mock hospital wards and pharmacy dispensaries, this is the first of what will be a series of collaborations with Olympus around training and education of the surgical and nursing workforces. 

The collaboration with Olympus is part of the Institute's increasing Knowledge Exchange work with commercial partners, improving education in healthcare, which will contribute to improving communication, raising standards and improving safety and patient care. 

The film saw the Living Lab turned into a working operating theatre by University staff, with Olympus supplying equipment in addition to the resources from the University. 

The script for the video was written by Keith Underwood, a former Operating Department Practitioner, who drew on his vast knowledge and experience to ensure that a ‘real world’ scenario was constructed. Keith also served as Director, ensuring that the scenario was as true to life as could be.

The staff acting in the film, were cast as a surgeon, a scrub nurse, a runner and a student, who dressed in scrubs and followed operating theatre protocols. Staff were trained to use the equipment and – following the script – carried out a simulated operation, which had several events where staff had to react to situations, ensuring that effective communication and teamwork were in place to react appropriately.

The video was filmed from different angles to show facial expressions, body language and reactions to poor communication, and how these could be improved.

Dr Yitka Graham, Head of the Helen McArdle Nursing and Care Research Institute, Associate Professor, Health Services Research, says: “Harnessing both academic and commercial expertise in collaborative projects is an exciting part of our Institute's work. Through our strong relationship with Olympus, we have developed a mutually beneficial partnership model which we will build on going forward. 

“The video will be used in both student teaching and clinical education around the importance of effective communication in the operating room, giving our nursing students a unique learning opportunity, supported by the great staff in the School of Nursing and Health Sciences, who were an integral part of the project.” 

Commenting on the project on behalf of Olympus, Sarah Seilly (Lead Clinical Education Specialist) and Keith Underwood (Registered Operating Department Practitioner) say: 

“We are very excited to be working on our first simulation project, and after all our discussions and planning, it was fantastic at last to be filming our training video within the simulation facilities in Helen McArdle House.  

“This project is primarily focusing on human factors within the operating room, and has aspects relating to medical device safety, team dynamics and communication skills. Over the last two years many members of staff have been out of their comfort zone and in situations that have been extremely challenging. It’s all about having the confidence and ability to ‘Speak out’ as the overall priority is always related to a safe patient journey through the surgical pathway! 

“This has been fantastic collaborative teamwork from all involved, and we are looking forward to working with the University of Sunderland in the future.” 

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