A team from Swansea University Medical School has visited Zambia to train doctors, nurses and midwives who teach in the country in using clinical simulation, which enables students to learn new skills without putting patients at risk. The visit was also a chance for the team to learn from their Zambian colleagues and to discuss future research partnerships and opportunities for students.
The visit was hosted by Swiss charity SolidarMed, which works in Africa and India to improve healthcare by strengthening medical facilities and training local health personnel. It was funded by a grant from the Welsh Government’s Wales and Africa scheme.
Clinical simulation is an extremely valuable tool for educating students as it gives them experience in practicing crucial procedures without putting patients at risk. Swansea has significant expertise in the field through its SUSIM centre and in developing highly realistic clinical simulation scenarios for student training.
The Swansea team included clinical simulation experts Jo Davies and Dr David Lee, along with Professor Lisa Wallace, Associate Dean International, Dr Ana Da Silva, Programme Director for Medical Education, and Dr Caroline Coleman-Davies, deputy head of academic partnerships.
The team ran a workshop in clinical simulation for 26 nurses, doctors and midwives from all 10 provinces of Zambia, a vast country three times larger than the UK. Some of them had travelled for two days to attend. All of them are involved in teaching students.
The workshop was in Kafue, an hour from the capital Lusaka, in a new centre for teaching clinical skills which is one of a series being built in Zambian hospitals by SolidarMed. These new teaching and learning facilities will improve the training that can be offered to health staff and expose students early to the realities of delivering health care in hospital spaces.
The clinical simulation training that the Swansea team provided will help attendees to design and implement simulation training and make the best possible use of these new facilities, which are now available to them.
Feedback from participants in the clinical simulation workshop:
Priscilla Mutetwa Banda, Clinical Instructor, Nchanga College of Nursing and Midwifery, Chingloa, Copperbelt province:
“I was excited to join the workshop and this has been a lovely experience for me which will help me to improve my teaching. I have learned the importance of being a facilitator to my students, giving them space to find their own solutions which will enable them to learn better.”
Dr Clive Kayumba, Senior House Officer, Kafue General Hospital:
“I have really enjoyed the workshop and it has really highlighted to me the importance of student-focused teaching and non-judgmental feedback to bring out the best in students.”
Pauline Chuunga, Senior Lecturer, Kafue College of Nursing and Midwifery:
“The workshop has opened my mind to the importance of teamwork and communication for students, and the importance of understanding what is going on in the heads of our learners.”
Dr Petros Andreadis from SolidarMed said:
“The workshop was a wonderful success, and our Zambian clinical instructors engaged with such enthusiasm with the Swansea University team. With the help of Swansea University Medical School, SolidarMed is keen to see Zambia become a leader in the region for clinical simulation training, and we, and our Zambian partners, look forward to working with colleagues from Swansea in the future.”
The Swansea team also visited hospitals, training colleges and non-governmental organisations, including the Clinton Health Access Initiative, to learn more about clinical training in Zambia and the healthcare challenges the country is facing. They also discussed with Zambian colleagues possible future collaborations, such as guest lectures, joint research, student placements, and student enrolment onto Swansea degree programmes.
Jo Davies, Swansea University’s Head of Simulation said:
“It was a pleasure to work with such a dedicated team of clinicians and educators. They helped us to understand the local context so that our training could be tailored to their needs, and their engagement and enthusiasm helped make the workshop a great success.”
Professor Lisa Wallace, Associate Dean International for the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Science said:
“We were delighted to be approached by SolidarMed to support them in enhancing clinical training in Zambia and to share our expertise with doctors, nurses and midwives from across the country. This visit marked the beginning of an exciting collaboration that will benefit students and healthcare professionals in both Zambia and Swansea.”