Volume 1 Issue 9

JPP News: June 2009

Smart Pod'—ideas for the ambulance of the future —was unveiled to the NHS and the healthcare industry at the NHS Innovation Expo in London on 19 June. The Innovation Expo brings together NHS exhibitors from across England as well as leading healthcare companies, showcasing the very best of healthcare innovations from the UK and abroad.

Spotlight on Research

Interprofessional education (IPE) involves different professions learning from and about each other, and is an essential component of holistic patient care. Clinical placements within hospital settings can be difficult to arrange for paramedics owing to staff shortages and increasing numbers of students in the healthcare system. This study examined whether IPE can be taught successfully to paramedic students through DVD simulations. Different professions contributed to the development of 11 common clinical scenarios depicting patient care and management in a variety of settings. The simulations demonstrate the role of each profession within interdisciplinary teamwork. Paramedic students participated via self-report questionnaires (n=97), and focus groups including six people.

Quality-assured online CPD modules

At this time, when Journal of Paramedic Practice (JPP) launches its new online continuing professional development (CPD) modules, it seems appropriate to consider just how groundbreaking the journal has been over the past year. As the publisher of 19 healthcare titles, including British Journal of Nursing, British Journal of Midwifery and British Journal of Hospital Medicine, Mark Allen Healthcare has great experience in launching clinical journals that are applicable to daily practice. We were confident that a quality journal solely dedicated to championing the paramedic's pursuit of best practice would be eagerly received.

Skills benefits of advanced simulation training

The phrase ‘practice makes perfect’ is mainly used for practical skills acquisition. The ambulance staff training curriculum has always had a strong emphasis on skills development. While the simplest technology may be used for rehearsing protocols or practising basic skills, newer technologies, such as advanced patient simulators coupled with digital audio and video recording systems, could bring fresh opportunities which can help staff develop better team working skills. Such types of higher level skills can only be addressed through realistic simulation training scenarios, which are safe re-enactments of real-life situations that may involve other emergency services. There is now an increasing body of evidence to demondtrate that using simulation training can significantly enhance the level of preparedness for health care professionals to deal with a range of situations and help them develop clinical skills and knowledge. Ambulance personnel still have too few opportunities to take part in highly realistic simulation exercises followed by structured debriefings that enhance reflection. Quality of patient care may be improved by increased investment of ambulance services in this area of continuing professional development for their staff..

Administering naloxone: is the answer under our noses?

The intranasal (IN) administration of naloxone to treat opioid overdoses offers many benefits over the current, often problematic intravenous and intramuscular routes. Such problems include using sharps around potentially aggressive patients; a high risk of transmitting blood-borne infections and difficulty obtaining intravenous access in injecting drug users. A literature search was undertaken to examine the effectiveness of the IN route of naloxone administration in comparison to these other routes. Research suggests that the IN route is safe to introduce into practice and it is effective: the time taken from ambulance staff arriving at opioid overdose patients to them responding to IN naloxone appears to equal that of the intravenous route. Intranasal naloxone is not yet licensed for use in the UK and this needs to be reviewed. In the future this method of drug administration should result in considerable benefits and improved safety to both ambulance staff and patients, particularly for the treatment of opioid overdoses.

Innovation yields improvements

Darzi's review NHS High Quality Care for All makes a number of courageous policy propositions that are associated with service improvements. What may be exercising some minds in the NHS is just how to make this a reality? There are no quick fixes to this challenge. Bevan et al (2008) however, note that on its own, across-the-board formal instruction in quality improvements and change management methods are not capable of delivering the results required to make change a reality.

Research and development: a new direction for NEAS

The Department of Health has recently introduced a new national strategic direction for research and development (R&D) across the National Health Service (NHS). One of the major developments is the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) which provides a framework to position, manage and maintain world-class research, staff and infrastructure in the NHS. This national framework is having a substantial effect on driving and shaping the infrastructure of R&D departments within Ambulance NHS Trusts. This article provides an overview of the national development and highlights some of the major consequential developments for the North East Ambulance Service NHS Trust (NEAS).

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