Graphic: Inside one of RFDS (Queensland Section) Simulation Training Rooms

World-leading technology ensures safety of RFDS Cairns staff

Date published

16 Sep 2020

World-leading medical simulation technology is now being used by Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) (RFDS) staff in Cairns to aid training and technical skill development.

The new simulated learning environment employs a combination of technologies to prepare RFDS Flight Nurses and Medical Officers for a variety of scenarios which they may face in the field – either performing a retrieval or working in a primary health care clinic.

RFDS Head of Nursing Clinical Governance, Lee Poole, said the innovative facility enabled the Flying Doctor to apply real-world settings into a training environment.

“Immersive video technology spans three walls within the training room, displaying locations ranging from a paddock on a cattle station, to a dirt strip in the middle of the outback, or even one of our primary health care clinics,” Mr Poole said.

Graphic: RFDS Staff member training with a high-fidelity mannikin in the training room

“The high-fidelity mannikin can be programmed to present with a variety of medical conditions, including those consistent with someone suspected of having contracted COVID-19.

“The educator facilitating the training exercise, who is located in the adjoining control room, can play the role of patient or colleague, prompting further action.”

Mr Poole said the ability to simulate clinical settings was an incredibly valuable learning tool for a busy and geographically diverse workforce.

“We operate low dose high frequency training which essentially means staff can run through short scenarios regularly, encouraging frequent problem solving and critical thinking,” he said.

“The quality of the cameras, combined with surround sound speakers, projectors and sensors, enables the educator to also provide critical feedback regarding technical skills.

“An important component of the technology is the fact the educator doesn’t have to be in the control room adjoining the training. They can be in Brisbane facilitating a scenario for medical staff in Cairns, allowing us to overcome the tyranny of distance.”

Mr Poole said the simulated learning environment in Cairns was the third to be rolled out in Queensland, following the implementation of the world-class technology in Brisbane and Bundaberg earlier this year.

“Ultimately, we wish to replicate the technology at every base across the state to deliver the same training for every staff member,” he said.

“The pandemic has this year presented us with new challenges in how we deliver healthcare while protecting the wellbeing of staff. Our simulated learning environment ensures that staff can simulate the safe retrieval of any patient, in a realistic, but fully controlled scenario.”