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April 2, 2022

NHS Trainers Shocked by gains from Scenario Approach

Our Director of Training, Gerard O’Dea, and Professor Chris Cushion worked with a number of experienced conflict and physical intervention trainers from NHS boards around Scotland to introduce them to the SCENA Scenario-Driven Training Approach in early March 2022.

The team – already competently teaching a variety of approaches to tactics including Maybo, GSA, Functional Edge, S.P.E.A.R. and even some in-house-developed methods – were brought together by a common desire to improve their training provision.

Their common goals were to:

  • provide more engaging training which catches the buy-in of their learners
  • deliver more efficient sessions which achieve better learning in the time allocated
  • achieve more effective transfer of the desired behaviours into the workplace

By leveraging the body of research-informed knowledge available, the SCENA course encourages trainers to make their session design more contextual, to increase the rate of practice of the target skillsets and to advance learner decision-making at the same time as the knowledge and skills in their programme.

SCENA contributes its knowledge-base to produce a noticeably different way of delivering training, compared to the normally ‘accepted’ methods where a slide-deck of content is central to the delivery, and where skills are taught, they are taught ‘from the manual’ and in a manner which is more focussed on the assessment in the classroom rather than operational .  

In learning terms, performance refers to changes in behaviour which which only lasts until the learner leaves the classroom, rather than the achievement of relatively long-term changes in staff behaviour (learning) which will ‘move the needle’ in how they deal with conflict when they are back in the ward.

One trainer, after experiencing a 1-hour model lesson on the first day of the training, expressed the following:

“I am shocked by how much content we just covered 

and how much we were able to practice as learners.”

Violence and Aggression Advisor, Scotland NHS Board

The attending trainers were tasked with increasingly complex training session design and delivery.   Having worked together to decide what the core scenarios for their learners are, the trainers were then tasked with designing and then developing a scenario-based lesson plan which reflected the learning outcomes they wanted to meet in the session.

A core outcome of the course is that conflict management, personal safety, risk assessment, care planning and restrictive interventions, learning outcomes are to be ‘meshed’ (trained together) rather than addressed in separate sessions – in ‘silos’ where they are not connected. 

This approach requires the trainers to re-configure their training courses to match operational situations, rather than deliver in a rigid, dis-integrated, manner.  The approach soon separates the creative, knowledgeable and progressive trainers from those who prefer to have prescribed, slide-based training plans – sparking paradigm-shifting conversations in the SCENA training room!

Here’s what the experienced and professional trainers on this CPD / Development course said:

“We are now moving our training to a more Scenario training model. This course exceeded my expectations and the course tutors were excellent“ 

Violence and Aggression Adviser/Trainer, NHS Scotland Board

“This trainer development course exceeded my expectations. It was excellent, mainly due to the fact that the evidence suggests (and I am convinced) that this approach will help information retention for our learners. As training providers we need to make sure the learners come first to make sure that overall safety in the areas they work in is increased. The scenario driven approach also creates a safer environment for NHS staff as they have experience in working under pressure -the same pressure they will experience during work.” 

Health and Safety Advisor for Prevention and managment of Violence and Aggression,

NHS Scotland Board

“Thank you for this course. You have provided a well thought out training package which does not force change on the curriculum but changes the way in which you teach it –  aiding better skill retention. What was great to see what was being told; that you can get even novice learners very quickly into scenarios, is exactly what we did on the course… Very useful to see trainers practicing what they preach.“ 

Health and Safety Advisor for Prevention and managment of Violence and Aggression,

NHS Scotland Board

“I just wanted to drop you an email to thank you for the course.  Everyone in my Team thoroughly enjoyed it and are feeling very positive about the way forward.  Thanks, I certainly got a lot out of it.  All round a great course.” 

Violence & Aggression Prevention Manager, NHS Scotland Board

To learn more about how to create more efficient, engaging and effective training, using a scenario-driven approach, please visit the SCENA webpage at [https://www.dynamis.training/trainers/scena/] and by all means, get in touch for a discussion about how this approach can help your team.

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Gerard O'Dea is the Director of Training for Dynamis. Training Advisor, Speaker, Author and Expert Witness on Personal Safety, Conflict Management and Physical Interventions, he is the European Advisor for Vistelar Conflict Management, a global programme focussing on the spectrum of human conflict.

Gerard O'Dea

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