New medical simulation centre opened

Published on LEUT Kelli Lunt (author), ABIS Cassie McBride (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Penguin, Sydney

Topic(s): Training, HMAS Penguin

Commodore Elizabeth Rushbrook, RAN (centre) with Commander Alison Thomas (left) and Commander Tammy Thomas (right) officially open the Medical Simulation Centre, HMAS Penguin, Sydney. (photo: ABIS Cassie McBride)
Commodore Elizabeth Rushbrook, RAN (centre) with Commander Alison Thomas (left) and Commander Tammy Thomas (right) officially open the Medical Simulation Centre, HMAS Penguin, Sydney.

A new medical simulation centre to benefit medical training for LHD conditions was opened at the Royal Australian Navy Medical School at HMAS Penguin by the Director General Health Capability and Director General Navy Health Service, Commodore Elizabeth Rushbrook, on Monday 19 August.

Now the largest and most modern of the three simulation units, the centre is equipped as a Resuscitation Bay rather than a Sickbay, to mimic realistic conditions onboard the LHDs. This will allow trainees to conduct two concurrent training scenarios. The centre also has four cameras positioned to hone in much closer on patients from a greater distance, allowing improved observation opportunities.

The eight month long project was a joint venture between the RAN Medical School and the Maritime Operational Health Unit (MOHU), and will allow both groups to share resources, build medical capability and increase cooperation through familiarity.

Commodore Training, Commodore Michael Noonan, said the simulation centre involved consultation with simulation medical experts, Director General Navy Health and Director Navy Health, and was an opportunity for Navy medical specialists to benefit from sharing resources.

“This newest addition to the medical facilities run by RAN Medical School staff demonstrates Navy’s commitment to providing the necessary facilities in order to equip our people with training required for future capabilities such as the LHD. Training Force continues to look for opportunities to provide training solutions which benefit multiple users, and this collaborative effort makes sense in terms of human resources and funding,” CDRE Noonan said.

OIC RAN Medical School, Commander Tammy Thomas, said the new centre would be put to great use for trainees by providing a wider range of training experiences and scenarios that were previously unavailable.

“Navy medical professionals will be up to speed in Advanced Life Support and casualty care that will be required for the LHDs. They will be able to practise together as a team with each person conducting a specific role,” CMDR Thomas said.

“Similar to that seen on television shows, doctors will manage the overall situation, nurses will provide airway care and medics will insert drips and monitor observations. Everyone will be able to understand what is required of them, and what is expected from other team members.

“Maritime Operational Health Staff, who spend periods of time maintaining their skills in civilian hospitals, will come together for training sessions in the simulator to ensure that when they deploy they all know what is required of them in a resuscitation situation. Additionally, the Simulator can be used for medics under training at the school, as well as Reservist medical specialists and nurses who come together usually annually for Exercise BLUESTOKES.”

It is anticipated that the Simulator will also be used to keep nurses, doctors and medics current professionally in Advanced Life Support and Basic Life Support which otherwise would need to be out-sourced to the civilian sector at considerable expense.

These medical professionals can receive their 'tick in the box' for these skills which are required for their professional registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

Imagery is available on the Australian Defence Image Library at http://images.defence.gov.au/S20131293.

Commodore Elizabeth Rushbrook, RAN (centre) with members of the RAN Medical School at the opening of the Medical Simulation Centre, HMAS Penguin, Sydney.

Commodore Elizabeth Rushbrook, RAN (centre) with members of the RAN Medical School at the opening of the Medical Simulation Centre, HMAS Penguin, Sydney.