A team at the Bath Academy has developed a valuable simulated teaching package that aims to improve the ability of undergraduate medical students to perform arterial blood gas testing. The Bath Academy, which trains Bristol University Medical School undergraduates at the Royal United Hospital, has developed a programme that improves the competence and confidence of students to carry out these important blood tests, it is anticipated that this will contribute to improved patient safety and experience.
“Around 40,000 blood gas tests are performed across the RUH every year. Arterial blood gas (ABG) testing is important in the assessment of critically ill patients, providing vital information to help guide clinical management,” explained the Trust’s Medical Simulation Technician, Iain Smith.
The simulated ABG teaching package at the RUH incorporates a manikin ABG puncture arm and a specially adapted blood gas analyser. It is used to train undergraduate medical students how to take ABG samples and interpret results in the context of a realistic simulated clinical scenario. The blood gas analyser donated by Roche has been altered to allow it to be used in a simulated environment but is designed to replicate the Roche cobas® b 221 blood gas analysers located in the emergency department, neonatal unit, medical admissions unit and biochemistry department at the hospital. The robustness of the cobas b 221 allows the students to concentrate on their sampling techniques with patients.
“The donation of a blood gas analyser from Roche enabled this project to happen,” continued Iain Smith. “Having an adapted blood gas analyser that is the same or similar to the cobas b 221 analysers used on the wards adds to the realism of the simulated clinical scenarios and enhances our training sessions.”
“The students assess a simulated patient and obtain an ABG sample from the manikin arm. They then select the desired parameters on the touch screen, inject the ‘dummy’ sample into the analyser and receive a preconfigured ABG printout for interpretation. The feedback from students is that they find these teaching sessions to be realistic and helpful. We have now extended the simulated AGB training to newly qualified doctors.”