Staff members from University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust and have been getting out into the community to give local school children a unique opportunity to experience the reality of a range of NHS roles.

In the largest and most comprehensive event of its kind that has been held by healthcare organisations in Bristol, doctors, nurses, surgeons, pharmacists, technicians, managers and scientists from UH Bristol, alongside paramedics from South West Ambulance Service Foundation Trust (SWASFT), visited Bristol Brunel Academy (BBA) where they gave over 200 year seven students an immersive and hands on experience of what working for the NHS was like through a range of simulated emergency situations.

Activities included attending the site of a simulated ‘car crash’ and seeing paramedics from SWASFT and medical professionals from UH Bristol, complete with a full-sized simulation ambulance, responding to the scene how they would in real life and also giving the students the opportunity to perform various emergency procedures on mannequins and actors.

Students also took part in interactive scenarios in an emergency department where they carried out observations and some common procedures; theatres, where they participated in a range of vital activities that would be carried out by theatre staff in real life; and on a ward, where they were given the chance to speak to NHS staff from different areas and find out more about what different careers in the NHS looked like and the kind of skills/qualifications they would need.

Laura Harrison, staff nurse at UH Bristol organised and led the event. She said:
“It’s been a  fantastic day that’s enabled young people to fully submerse into many of the NHS career roles. Students have been attending trauma scenes as paramedics, using ultrasound like vascular scientists, reviewing imaging like radiographers, triaging and admitting patients in a busy emergency department, preparing for theatre like operating department practitioners and understanding the non-clinical opportunities the NHS has to offer”

“The Community Outreach Simulation Project’s ethos is about building a bridge between what young people enjoy doing and potential clinical or non-clinical NHS careers they may wish to aspire to. We want all young people to feel inspired, raise aspirations and consider our much loved NHS as a future employer”

The day forms part of a wider programme funded by Health Education England and it follows on from other, smaller scale, community simulation outreach events led by staff from Bristol Medical Simulation Centre with the support of other UH Bristol staff. Speaking about the importance of engaging with local schools and the local community in such a way, Dan Freshwater-Turner, chair of the BMSC and consultant in the intensive therapy unit at UH Bristol, said:
“Having a workforce that understands the communities we serve is vital to any NHS organisation. Days and programmes like today are a big part of ensuring this. Hopefully today has helped raise the aspirations of local students, encouraged them to take an interest in healthcare, and ensured we have a workforce which mirrors the local community not just now, but in the long term.”

Simon Jones, Assistant Principal at Bristol Brunel said, “The students had an amazing and thought provoking day discovering the various career pathways available at the NHS. My colleagues and I would like to thank everyone who took part and we were honoured to be chosen to host this prestigious event. We sincerely hope that in the future some of our students consider a career with the NHS.”

Wayne Evans, simulation education and i-learn lead at SWASFT said:
Today has been a really enjoyable experience both for the students and for all of the staff involved. It’s extremely rewarding speaking to local students about our roles and giving them the opportunity to experience it first-hand. This is the largest simulation day we’ve ever done, and everyone at SWASFT, and at UH Bristol is extremely proud to have given local students such a unique opportunity.