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New Intensive Care Course developed

26 June 2020


A new online 3-D learning resource for doctors, nurses and other health professionals has been developed by teams at the James Paget University Hospital and the University of East Anglia to prepare for a potential second wave of COVID-19 admissions.

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The new online resource, commissioned by leaders of the Local Workforce Action Board for the Norfolk and Waveney Health & Care Partnership, has been developed by a team consisting of senior critical care doctors and nurses from the James Paget, nursing and medical educationalists and e-learning technologists. The University of East Anglia’s award winning online postgraduate programmes developed by Professors Sam Leinster and Jerome Pereira and their team have formed the basis of this new educational approach.

The aim of the course is to prepare hospitals for a potential second wave of COVID-19 admissions to ICU and critical care services.  The need for this course has been highlighted by a recent British Medical Association study, which demonstrated a significant lack of confidence among doctors’ of the ability to manage patient demand if there is a second peak of COVID-19.

The course incorporates a range of features designed to serve as a helpful introduction for non-critical care staff to orientate themselves prior to, or when returning to, the critical care setting.  For example:

  • The course aims to prepare non-critical care staff to work within the critical care setting. 
  • It delivers thought provoking formative exercises to promote application of evidence-based knowledge and decision making for key areas of critical care practice.
  • It brings together of a range of pre-existing materials from trusted locations, such as e-learning for healthcare (E-LfH), hospitals and Government, making them accessible from a single location.

In order to orientate clinical staff, the resource includes a 360-degree virtual tour of a typical ICU ward with demonstrations of the technology and equipment used for the care of patients.  Realistic 360 video has been created using cutting edge filming technology to be viewed on a computer screen, with plans to make the footage viewable using a 3D VR headset. 

The educational topics cover patient care; resuscitation; airway and respiratory management; circulation; patient assessment; technical skills and psychological care.

The course is designed to be interactive and engaging for staff by adding extra depth to the essential information provided on the site and enhancing patient care and their experience. This blended learning approach has been tried and tested over a decade at postgraduate level both in the UK and worldwide. 

The advantages of this course to NHS staff are:-

  • Flexible access to COVID and critical care related teaching materials
  • It promotes decision making in patient management with instant feedback to student performance
  • Online educational material can be accessed in order to refresh knowledge.
  • It is applicable for future challenges to critical care practice within the NHS.
  • It can be used as an orientation course for nurses, doctors and senior medical students wanting to pursue a long-term career in critical care medicine.

Anna Morgan, Director of Workforce, Norfolk & Waveney Healthcare Partnership and chair of the Local Workforce Action Board, said; “We are delighted with the enthusiasm and speed at which this programme has been developed to support our staff at this challenging time. This programme is innovative and appreciates the different learning styles and needs of our NHS staff, it offers a much more flexible way of gaining new knowledge and skills and is excellent in providing an opportunity for staff to acclimatise themselves to Critical Care and build their confidence. We have ambitions to build on this methodology to support the needs of our future workforce across health and care.”  

Course Development Lead Professor Jerome Pereira says; “This course is primarily aimed at upskilling staff to meet the challenges posed by a potential second wave of COVID-19 in the UK, but will have application in other countries where the disease is currently active and widespread. In the long term this innovative and interactive programme will prove immensely useful for clinical staff and medical students to orientate themselves when posted to the highly charged intensive care setting.”

Dr Josip Stosic, Consultant in Critical Care Medicine (pictured above in the video), said; “The biggest strength of this course is the very deliberate integration of multi-professional learning by using novel educational methods.”

Sharon Crowle, Head of Education and Practice Development at the James Paget said; “I am very excited to see the launch of this new critical care blended learning. It provides a fantastic resource to support staff new to this area and provides a wonderful platform that learners can use to increase understanding of this environment.  There has been a great need to nationally to redeploy health care staff to critical care and this resource can support staff with this, it provides further resources for any increase in critical care services in the future due to COVID or for other reasons.”