We catch up with our Medical Gas Portfolio Manager Michael Ell on what makes Eastwood Park's training stand out from the crowd.
Formerly a marine engineer, hospital engineer, an Estates Manager in a 750-bed general hospital and a medical gas risk specialist and trainer, Michael has over 25 years’ hospital engineering experience.
He has led and developed Eastwood Park's medical gas training since 2014 and offers in-depth knowledge of the role of a medical gas Authorised Person (AP), as well as the management of medical gases on a range of sites. Michael's course delivery encourages as much interactivity and practical elements as possible.
How did you get involved with teaching medical gas?
I have always had an interest in training and had completed relevant teaching/tutor training? courses over the years. I was working in hospitals as an Authorised Person (MGPS) in Estates Officer and Estates Manager roles when a job came up as a medical gas trainer, so I applied, and the rest, as they say, is history!
While I have moved into training from a hospital operational background, I have also known colleagues who have started training following experience in medical gas design.
Tell me about the facilities on offer at Eastwood Park for medical gas training
At Eastwood Park, we benefit from access to a full, ‘live’ medical gas pipeline system, allowing us to carry out pipework, shut downs and recommissioning. We are also fortunate to have some of the latest QC pharmacy equipment for use on our quality controller and Authorised Person courses.
And of course Eastwood Park is situated in the middle of a 200 acre country estate – a quiet and dedicated training centre, so a focused learning environment.
What are the benefits of hands-on training in addition to classroom based/theory?
Put simply, when you attend medical gas training at Eastwood Park, you don’t just gain knowledge, but an understanding of MGPS systems, along with a new found confidence to get the job done. Hands-on practice allows you to implement concepts taught in the classroom in ‘real life’ situations, preparing you for the practical competency assessment by an Authorising Engineer (AE), which is central to HTM requirements (HTM 02-01 Part B, Part 7).
In addition, the increased involvement from delegates through practical activities generates thinking, interest and discovery, and is increasingly likely to lead to a more motivated person who is enthused to investigate their workplace and to seek potential improvements – ultimately improving patient safety.
What differentiates Eastwood Park’s courses from other training providers?
Our courses train and prepare you for the real hospital environment rather than being ‘just’ a knowledge transfer. We also have the only ‘live’ medical gas pipeline system outside of hospitals in the UK, so you can take advantage of being able to put practical learning into practice within a safe environment.
What are the biggest issues your delegates face and how do you help them overcome them?
In a busy hospital environment, time is always an issue. Here at Eastwood Park, we provide a place for delegates to step away and reflect upon day to day responsibilities, with access to effective methods of rectifying and improving current working practices based on the experience of Eastwood Park’s expert trainers. Often delegates find that it really is the little tweaks and changes that can make all the difference.
Particularly when it comes to refresher training, we identified that many students attending courses for refresher reassessment have had little opportunity to practise their skills over the intervening years. We therefore introduced a practically-based course with less emphasis on knowledge transfer (after all we would expect a reasonable level of knowledge retention), and more time (approximately 80 per cent) spent on applying knowledge. Course content ranges from equipment set-up using the facility’s live on-site medical gas system, to applying sections of the HTM to the equipment, notably the routine checking identified in section 10 of Part B.
Eastwood Park delivers medical gas courses to suit the various healthcare roles including: Competent and Authorised Persons, Quality Controllers, Nurses, Porters and Designated Nursing Officers.