Introduction Innovative education and learning processes are increasingly important tools to enhance the knowledge and experience of trainees in Paediatric Intensive Care (PIC). Working within the constraints of European working time directives has placed severe restriction on the continuity and overall duration of PIC training. The experience gained at individual PICUs can vary depending on the size of their subspecialist programs. The potential for exchange of experience between trainees at different units is limited. Videoconferencing technology has been used between international PICUs (Toronto/Boston) as an educational tool but has not been used previously within the UK.
Outline of innovation/good practice In June 2010, BCH launched the use of inter-PICU videoconferencing across PICUs in 3 major children’s hospitals in the UK. As a result of its success, we have included 2 further PICUs for tri-PICU videoconferencing.
A videoconference is conducted every 2–3 months with the three centres rotating the turn to present a case. The duration is 1 h with a trainee-delivered presentation and consultant-facilitated review following that. Focus has been on interesting cases with learning points. Questions are asked and discussion encouraged between all centres as the presentation progresses. A brief literature review is presented towards the end. Relevant specialty team is also invited to contribute their specialist knowledge. Policies and patient care pathways also discussed, for example strategies for minimising healthcare associated infections, cervical spine clearance and collar removal in traumatic injuries.
Technology: ‘N3’ secure NHS network with the advantage of interlinking unlimited centres and also the ability for a trainee/expert/nursing staff to log-in from any computer and participate in the discussion in the future.
Outcome/discussion/conclusions: Feedback from trainees and consultants has been very positive and indicated the need for regular conferences. Consultant participation across the centres has improved with time and is felt by trainees to enhance educational value.
Tri-PICU videoconferencing can promote a sense of ‘PICUs without boundaries’ and allow sharing of educational resources. We believe this approach can be replicated between other paediatric units who could form networks of their own, with participation of international centres as an option.