What? In 2019, we carried out our first experimental large-scale simulation exercise with great success. The initial findings of the study were presented at ASPiH 2019. This is an update on our journey using large-scale inter-professional simulation (IPE). From our initial simulation, we identified the following key themes: (1) students’ educational expectations; (2) their experience of multi-disciplinary working; (3) the theory to practice gap and (4) gaining experience in a safe environment. From this, we realized that our students needed more of this type of simulation activity and that the hands-off facilitation style that we used helped with learning and preparation for practice. Students responded positively to having to put their leadership skills into practice, learning in a safe environment in a real-time situation, something that, despite great placements, they often felt unable to do in the ‘real world’. This real-time simulation-enhanced innovative thinking and emphasized human factor principles. This type of learning experience promoted learning and working together across the multi-disciplinary field with both qualified and pre-registration students. The impact of working with ‘qualified’ professionals added to the realism of the simulation. We found that the debrief was key in the development of real-time simulation as it was enhanced by good-quality debriefing.
So what? Following the initial large-scale simulation, we planned and delivered two more events before COVID-19 prevented us from continuing. Both were large-scale events, but we made adaptations each time to enhance the students’ learning experience. What we have managed to achieve over the lockdown period is to plan and prepare for further events and, in hindsight, this has better prepared us. So, what have we done in this period of enforced distancing? We have gone through a period of change management to align all our curriculum to being simulation-based, and have developed and implemented a framework for the integration of skills and simulation. We have sent (nearly) all our lecturing staff from across our courses, nursing, operating department practitioner, midwifery, paramedic, trainee nursing associate and social work on a simulation train the trainer course to understand the pedagogy and discipline that is the backbone of simulation. This has been a great success and has generated a lot of inter-professional conversations and development of simulation. We have designed and developed a large-scale simulation that can be run in a COVID compliant way.