The COVID-19 pandemic is challenging ophthalmology and optometry programs worldwide to deliver safe, socially distanced training. The optometry program of NHS Education for Scotland (NES) is an early adopter of incorporating the Eyesi Slit Lamp simulator into their training program. At The National Skills Education Hub, based within the NHS Louisa Jordan, simulation training allows optometrists to maintain and improve their skills.
Interview with Dr. Alice McTrusty, who is supervising the simulation training program:
Dr. McTrusty, you are one of the first optometry programs to have acquired an Eyesi Slit Lamp simulator. Has the simulator helped in upholding training during the current pandemic?
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a multitude of challenges, including the delivery of safe and effective face-to-face training for trainees and registered practitioners. NES Optometry have been able to incorporate the Eyesi slit lamp into our simulation training program in addition to our Eyesi Binocular Indirect simulator. The simulator training sessions allow for training where currently, because of COVID-19, there is no or very little opportunity for clinicians to develop, maintain or improve their skills. The NHS Louisa Jordan skills hub has the flexible space to enable a safe clinical training environment. The first wave of the training program has concentrated on pre-registration optometrists whose training and patient experiences have been significantly disrupted by the pandemic. With the additional networking facility, we plan to utilize this in ongoing remote training.
What is the feedback from trainees?
Feedback from the pre-registration trainees has been very positive. Many are grateful for the opportunity to improve their slit lamp technique and work through real life patient scenarios. For many of the trainees this has been their first opportunity to visualize some anterior eye conditions and consider a patient management plan.
How do you plan to use the simulator in future?
As we expand the training program, we aim to make our Eyesi simulation suite available to registered optometrists and also include other health care professionals/trainees within multidisciplinary training such as General Practitioners (GPs), Accident and Emergency (A&E) doctors, Advanced Nurse Practitioners (ANPs), ophthalmic nurses and trainee doctors/ophthalmologists. NES Optometry have been early adopters of this highly beneficial educational training simulator and look forward to the proposed expansion and increased capability of the simulator including fundoscopy lens and gonioscopy. These updates will be beneficial to those enrolled in our NES glaucoma award training (NESGAT).