21 March 2019
The skills lab we have at ARU is fantastic! It’s an artificial environment which we use to learn in and get ‘hands on’.
On our Skills days we come into university wearing our uniform. As we must always look professional, our tutors expect us to arrive at the skills lab exactly how we would when we are in placement.
We spend most of our course out on placement and our days in the skills lab are vital; we can create different scenarios and practise them. One skill we are about to learn in the lab is a rapid sequence induction. This technique is often performed in anaesthetics when emergency surgery is required and there is no time to wait for the patient to be what we call “starved” (no food and drink consumed within a certain time frame). Practising techniques such as this and carrying out various situations is excellent, as some students may not be exposed to emergencies such as a cardiac arrest and difficult intubation, so to be able to recreate these situations is a great experience for us.
Part of our safety checks whilst in our anaesthetic placement is to test the anaesthetic machine, ensure all the various components work and that there are no leaks in the system. In the skills lab we have a machine (shown below) that we can check and go through with our tutors, exactly how we would in placement.
We use a variety of mannequins (like the one shown below) which are fantastic because they are so much like a real-life patient! Tutors can link them to a hospital monitor and change their observations e.g. heart rate and oxygen saturation levels.
Our skills lab has a scrub sink in it, which is a replica of the one we use when we are in surgery at our placements. This gives us the opportunity to practise washing our hands and putting our surgical gown and gloves on. I remember doing this for the first time in the lab and it was so funny watching us all trying to do it whilst keeping sterile! It was great fun!
We also have a variety of surgical instruments, which we can lay out how we would during an operation and learn their names and what they’re used for.
I feel that we are so lucky to have a skills lab; it enhances our learning! I enjoy these sessions as they boost my confidence and prepare me for what I may face in my placement.