The Pulse: Sophisticated Training for Saudi Medical Professionals
In 2013, Saudi Arabia opened 15 hospitals. This year, the Kingdom expects to open 24 more. In all, 132 hospital projects are currently underway, and ultimately, the Saudi Health Ministry is expected to have 72,525 available hospital beds by 2019. These facilities will require staffing by thousands of doctors, nurses, technicians and administrators with medical expertise.
While hiring expatriate professionals is part of the solution, the best long-term strategy is to develop a skilled cadre of Saudi healthcare professionals. Doing so will provide a stable local workforce with the knowledge needed to implement the increasingly sophisticated, technology-focused high-quality healthcare required by the Kingdom’s growing population. This means the demand for qualified training will increase considerably in the years ahead.
Training Saudi doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals has an additional benefit, by contributing to the Kingdom’s broader commitment to building a knowledge-based economy.
Already working to address this staffing gap, the King Fahad Medical City (KFMC) and GE have established the Healthcare Skills Training Institute (HSTI) to provide training in leadership, clinical, and technical skills to physicians, nurses, bio-medical technicians, managers and other healthcare professionals.
The Institute draws on methods such as simulation, classroom instruction, hands-on workshops and online learning programs. Opened in September 2013 and currently operating from the Faculty of Medicine building at KFMC in Riyadh, the Institute will move to an approximately 12,000-sqm facility modeled on a ‘virtual training hospital’ layout, which currently is under development.
This layout supports the strong focus on offering advanced training methods that involve simulation. Simulation scenarios give doctors, nurses and technicians a hands-on opportunity to learn operating procedures with the aid of low, medium and high-fidelity simulators. Detailed debriefing sessions allow participants to review the impact of their actions, all without risking the health of real patients. This type of training reduces medical errors and improves patient safety.
Through HSTI and other programs in the Kingdom, GE has trained more than 5,000 healthcare professionals and leaders over the past three years. For more on GE Healthcare in Saudi Arabia, click here.