University Hospitals Leicester on keeping NLS Courses running during Covid-19

University Hospitals Leicester successfully ran two Newborn Life Support (NLS) courses in August and September 2020, following adaptation to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

A newborn baby in hospital

Before the Course
Leicester General Hospital has a dedicated education centre where NLS courses are run, with separate training rooms and lecture theatre. 

Discussions between our Course Directors, Course Coordinator, the Director of Medical Education and the Education centre team resulted in these spaces being assessed to ensure appropriate social distancing could be achieved.  In the lecture theatre, seats were marked and blocked off to achieve a 2m distance between Candidates and the faculty. Each training room allowed socially distanced seating and had its own equipment for skills and scenarios, to avoid moving equipment between rooms.  

Part of this assessment of space included the total numbers of Candidates that could be safely accommodated. In this case it was 16 (4 groups of 4), as opposed to our normal capacity of 24.

Candidates were sent COVID-19 specific information in their pre-course information packs. This included advice to inform us and not attend if they are exhibiting any symptoms, information about the new social distancing measures and personal PPE that would be supplied to them during the course to ensure their safety. The information pack also highlighted that  resuscitation equipment would be wiped down and hand sanitizers would be available.

During the Course
Candidates and faculty were supplied with fluid-resistant face masks to wear during the whole day, and hand sanitiser was supplied in all areas. Toilets were easily accessible for hand washing and signs and advice to Candidates reminded them of maximum numbers of people to be present in each area. During break and lunch times Candidates were assigned a “base” room where they returned to, to ensure they didn’t congregate in communal areas and to support social distancing. 

Candidates wore PPE during practical sessions and hand sanitiser/hand washing facilities were available for use between and during sessions. Equipment was cleaned with disinfectant wipes between each use.

For the initial practical stations, Candidates rotated between rooms. For the practical scenarios, Candidates remained in their “base” room and faculty moved to reduce the frequency of large groups moving between stations.  One faculty member carried the mark sheets to minimise contact and passed the information to one member who inputted this onto a combined spreadsheet which was projected to the faculty during meetings, again to minimise contact with surfaces.

Catering for Candidates and faculty was supplied and delivered to the education centre by hospital services. This was all pre-packaged and single use to avoid multiple people touching surfaces and serving areas. 

Assessments ran in parallel, with half the group undergoing MCQs in the lecture theatre with socially distanced seating and the remaining Candidates attending one of 3 test stations with two faculty members present. 

Feedback from faculty

“The course was well organised and faculty were fully briefed on all safety measures and encouraged to highlight these to Candidates. The smaller groups enabled faculty to support Candidates with skills and improve their confidence.”

“It was great to be back teaching NLS, albeit to a smaller group of Candidates, ensuring that midwives, nurses and doctors have the necessary skills to provide staged and effective resuscitation to babies.”

Feedback from Candidates

“I feel the team dealt with the current situation (COVID-19) very well.”

“The course for the day and the scenarios and skills stations were very well organised and have learnt a lot from the demonstrations and practice opportunities.”

“I feel the smaller groups due to COVID restrictions actually worked well. I found all faculty staff approachable and knowledgeable.”

RCUK are here to support you in running courses during COVID-19; click here to find out how.