Simulated Learning Weeks

The target learning group of this case study was BSc Diagnostic Radiography (plans to extend to Apprenticeships AP/Diagnostic Radiography)

In this section

In This Section


As part of a successful HEE CPEP bid, Lancashire teaching hospitals collaborated across AHP professions (namely DRads, TRads, Physio, OT) and developed a band 7 secondment role as an AHP technology simulation lead for the trust.  It is through this collaboration and with the Blended Learning Team we planned, bought, built and delivered our simulation package.


1st year - converted three individual weeks out of the 12 placement weeks to non-patient facing clinical simulation weeks. Each of the three weeks has an adaptable theme depending on the needs of the student group.

Example week

Based around a PBL type format, a ‘SIM week’ entails a core theme that aims to encompass the tutorials through the week. Students are asked to find the evidence base, curate the information and collate into a presentation delivered to their peers. For example, in the above week, the project revolved around anatomy, radiographic anatomy and common pathologies of the spine, pelvis and abdomen (viewed in both X-ray and CT).  In addition, students are challenged to bring three Chest pathologies and evaluate their appearance in X-ray/CT.  A development on this theme will be to tie in to the patient care pathways and their treatment.

As this is a clinical based SIM week, there is scope for flexibility and adaptation to suit the cohort. Common themes are:

  • Communication and Professionalism (done right at the beginning to aide understanding of expectations on clinical placement). Outcomes include understanding of critical thinking, transactional analysis, emotional intelligence and HCPC/SOR standards of proficiency and expectations of students.

  • Experiment week – designing an experiment, find/use an available evidence base, deliver and present findings (presentation skills included). Using one of our rooms, x-ray a pelvis phantom to investigate the optimum exposure, image quality and positioning of a horizontal beam hip x-ray. The students are given very little information and it is up to them to decide how best to collect data and deliver findings in a critical and analytical way.

  • Example week as above with anatomy etc.

Journal Club

Each SIM week has a journal club session built in. This can involve a couple of approaches. Either solely DRad students who are given the journal on the same day, they need to read, appraise and collate arguments within an hour then discuss within peers (and facilitator) for a couple of hours. The other approach is an MDT structure. All student learners across the trust are invited to the journal club. The journal (more generic) allows open discussion across professions. Previous sessions have included Nursing, TRad, Physio, OT, SLT, and more.

Tech SIM

So far this has been used in just one sim week. In the new academic year this will evolve across multiple weeks and give a closer connection to a patient centred curriculum. Using Oculus GO VR headsets (12 available in classroom) we are using VIRTI® software (20 licenses).

Currently we deliver:

An ICU chest X-ray scenario. This is with a real patient who consented for this use. Through the procedure, information regarding ICU pops up within the 360 video (including the machinery in the room and what to expect in ICU). Testing of students also occurs through this session. Questioning on common medical abbreviations (i.e. COPD), Chest pathologies (x-rays chosen from our PACS system). In the pilot year, we have not captured these results more formally, but moving forward we will be building this in to student learning needs and developing the testing part of these sessions.

A Theatre scenario to orienteer the new students to the theatre environment. Gives them an understanding of expectations in theatre. This session is longer and more about watching than testing, although some questions are included (mainly around IR(me)R and radiation protection). The scenario again is a real patient having a femoral gamma nailing.

A Resus situation in ED looks in to the referral process, image quality and difficulties in imaging in a trauma situation. This was the first (pilot of a pilot), session we ran and uses a couple of the then 3rd year students as actors (they did a very good job!).


Other Tech:

We have purchased and waiting to receive VSI Skillitics software. This will be 57 licenses and 2 more Oculus GO VR headsets. These will allow 2 virtual x-ray rooms in the Radiology classroom. This will be used within the SIM weeks next academic year for the level 4 students but also utilised less formally for level 5 and 6 students as well as for the apprenticeships.

Hololens – The trust has a handful of Hololens headsets. We have access to ApoQlar software which allows uploading of trust scan information (mainly CT). This can then be made into a hologram. Multiple headsets can see the same hologram (and interact with it). Interesting pathologies, understanding trauma patients and patient care implications. 

It is believed with the 3-prong approach along with the clear research and evidence based projects andwith the included tutorials, the SIM weeks will be  very full, but in an engaging environment that harnesses learning.  The SIM week will then give students the tools and confidence going back to the patient facing placement experience and through close mentorship and linked in learning they will have a fuller experience.


  • Tom Welton

    Name: Tom Welton

    Job title: Lead Practice Educator

    Department: Lancashire Teaching Hospitals

    Simulation experience / simulation research:

    Qualified as a diagnostic radiographer, Tom has worked in multiple modalities including CT, MRI and projectional radiography. Currently Tom is the Lead Practice Educator at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS FT, working in collaboration with the University of Cumbria. Recently he has been leading and pioneering strides forward in clinical based simulation work for his trust. This includes the use of virtual reality and augmented reality to pave the foundations for successful placement expansions of over 1900 extra placement capacity hours per year group.

    Along with his work commitments, Tom is also the Northwest council member for the Society and College of Radiographers, sitting on multiple sub groups including the society’s student rep forum, Research Advisory Group, and the College Board of Trustees. Known for a true passion to patient centred working, Tom is an advocate for radiographer professional development and AHP workforce collaborations.