What difference will the new technology make to what St Christopher’s CARE can offer learners and providers?
The change is incredible from a tech point of view. Fundamentally, the old education centre had an old lecture theatre that was outdated and was in real need of a refresh. Tech-wise St Christopher’s CARE is a massive step forward for the hospice and for end of life care education, creating a new space for people to engage.
There have been very few positives from COVID-19 but one of them has been helping people engage remotely. And while the new building has been designed to engage with people in-person, the facilities are also ideal for engaging with our audience online, whether that’s using the lecture theatres as studios or filming a best practice care training session live from the Skills Lab.
There have been very few positives from COVID-19 but one of them has been helping people engage remotely.
The lecture theatre itself is designed so that we can have one large space or two or three smaller ones, and in those spaces, we can host a conference or have people presenting via Zoom. It is set up perfectly for presenting in both ways. There are three screens in the theatre with a camera pointing at the centre screen which enables us to stream or broadcast it to other screens in the centre as well as to the audience online.
What changes have you seen since you started?
I only started work here in November, having previously worked as a product manager for a high-end audio equipment company. So far, remote webinars and conferences have been a massive thing and Connect with CARE was a great way to introduce the new centre. Doing it online meant we were able to reach a much wider audience and showed the potential for us to move forward with that approach.
What are some of the features you’re most excited about?
I’m particularly excited about the potential for the Skills Lab. If you imagine a rectangular room and at one end there’s a large screen with a camera looking into the room and then on one side there’s a glass wall opening out onto a roof garden. On the other side there are sliding doors behind which you can store hospital beds. In the middle there’s a large space where you can hold a small conference or you can divide the room in two and, from the moveable lectern control you have the kit to operate the camera. That gives us the opportunity to broadcast to other rooms in the building or film best practice videos.
Jenny Fogarty, the Centre Lead and I are both big fans of creating an atmosphere in the centre that is neither too clinical nor too educational. We wanted to create a place that feels like somewhere you can have a positive learning experience in a happy learning environment and one way to help us do that is to use the excellent audio equipment we have to play music throughout the centre.
What the technology allows us to do is connect healthcare professionals in a new way. We are now able to share knowledge and best practice and enrich others. You now don’t need to have been born in the UK and have been to university to access the highest standards of education.
Give us some examples of how St Christopher’s is reaching new audiences?
I’ve been working on the Fellowship Programme that has participants and speakers from all over the world and we’ve been working with our partners in India. The connectivity has been fantastic despite being thousands of miles apart across time zones. We are now in a position to help our colleagues in India share their knowledge around the world. And with the help of the new technology in St Christopher’s CARE we’ve been able to facilitate 38 speakers over five days. That’s included training them remotely to maximise the platform. This is a great template for us for the future.
The most exciting thing for me is being able to reach further than we’ve been ever been able to reach before.
How are you colleagues adapting to the tech?
Every Tuesday I run a tech surgery and host Zoom masterclasses for colleagues here at St Christopher’s. So, for people who aren’t that confident, I can help them host a session, advise them on the best camera angles, give them tips on lighting and of course learn how to mute people!
The most exciting thing for me is being able to reach further than we’ve been ever been able to reach before. Palliative care can sometimes feel like we’re preaching to the choir. We now have a massive opportunity to reach a much wider audience.