TV presenter and practicing paediatric doctor, Dr Ranj Singh, joined local employers to launch a new innovative technology health and social care hub at New College Swindon.
Swindon and Wiltshire Innovative Technology Care Hub (SWITCH) is an exciting collaboration between New College Swindon and Wiltshire College which aims to enhance and upskill health and social care staff across local regions and beyond, using the latest immersive technologies.
Invited guests from local care homes, hospices, businesses, and healthcare organisations, were given a tour of the cutting-edge facilities, within the College’s dedicated training hospital wards that have been built to NHS specifications.
Guests were introduced to a family of patient simulators (manikins) that mimic human anatomy and physiology, setting the standard for high-fidelity realism, and allowing students to develop critical thinking, communication, and clinical skills without risk to real patients.
Teaching staff also demonstrated how they can simulate any number of scenarios, using the immersive suite, virtual reality and augmented reality, to train students and medical practitioners.
David Panes is the Programme Leader for SWITCH at New College Swindon and a Registered General Nurse with over 20 years of working in frontline roles. He is excited about the opportunities SWITCH is bringing to the region, “The use of these immersive technologies is a game changer for skills development in the health and social care sector. Not only does it provide an engaging and realistic environment to practice clinical skills, accident management, and technical procedures, but it also allows us to develop the softer skills around patient care and interaction.”
For those students who are looking to start a career in health and social care, this interactive way of learning is putting them in a much stronger position to enter the workforce, armed with the skills and hands-on experience.
For David Panes, supporting the training needs of employers is a key aim of the project:
“This is not just for our full-time students; we want to be the go-to training provider for any employers in the region who are looking to upskill their current staff. We can customise the software and create a wide variety of scenarios. So, if an employer comes to us with a specific training goal in mind, we can work with them to develop bespoke training for their needs. It is this type of collaboration with those on the frontline that will help to push the boundaries and shape the future of SWITCH.”
Between the two hubs at New College Swindon and Wiltshire College, SWITCH offers a wide variety of modular, short, full-time, and bespoke courses. A mix of face-to-face, virtual, and blended learning delivery methods provides the flexibility needed for a sector supplying services 24/7.