The Oxford Simulation, Teaching and Research team (OxSTaR) team have been pioneering the use of simulation-based education (SBE) at Oxford University for over 15 years. Part of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, they have grown from two to fourteen members, and the extended team now numbers over 50 from a diverse range of backgrounds. Based at the John Radcliffe Hospital, the OxSTaR Centre provides a psychologically safe learning environment for medical students and multidisciplinary healthcare professionals.
OxSTaR's work has been recognised by an AdvanceHE Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE), which celebrates outstanding collaborative impact on teaching and learning and highlights the key role of teamwork in higher education. Meet some of the members of Oxford's OXSTaR team below and find out more about their work here.
Helen Higham, OxSTaR Director
‘I believe our success as a team has come about because of our common sense of purpose, mutual support, and joy at work – there is a lot of laughter in OxSTaR. It was this team ethos that enabled us to step up to the immense challenges of the pandemic and successfully negotiate those extraordinary times together. We continued teaching and delivered freely accessible educational materials to healthcare students and workers globally to disseminate new skills vital to staff and patient safety during COVID-19.
Our aim now is to build on the successes of the past 15 years, continue to expand our work using novel learning technologies and drive the research in clinical education and patient safety. I could not be more proud to work with this wonderful team and I’m very much looking forward to what’s coming next.’
Rosie Warren, OxSTaR Manager
‘I started in OxSTaR as a simulation fellow in 2012 and haven’t left! I’ve worked in many teams both in the NHS and the military, and this team is special because we have a cohesiveness and appreciation of each other’s strengths and capabilities which means we always get a bigger and better result than might otherwise be expected.’
Wendy Washbourn, OxSTaR Administrator
‘When I first started in the team I was mainly involved in welcoming people on our courses and sending out certificates, but Helen and Rosie encouraged me to get involved in more of what we do, and I’m now helping to run a leadership programme in the hospital and running international meetings. It’s such an exciting role and I’ve been really surprised by what I’m capable of.’
Alan Inglis, Head Technician
‘I think most of what the tech team does in a simulation centre is hidden, and actually it’s a mark of our success when teaching runs smoothly, either in person or online, and our students don’t notice we’re there. When I began this role simulation was relatively new in healthcare and I’ve seen enormous changes in what we can offer in terms of simulating real experiences for students and healthcare professionals, and making a real difference to practice and patient care. The thing that stands out about our team is collaborative approach to what we do – everyone’s expertise and viewpoint is respected, and that makes an enormous difference to the quality of our teaching.’
Hilary Edgcombe, Head of the Global Anaesthesia Team
'I think the team in OxSTaR is unique because of the pervasive atmosphere of encouragement to develop ideas from all team members and the pro-active mentoring and supporting of others with burgeoning interests inside and outside the team. The global reach the team has achieved is in large part because it is “business as usual” to share perspectives on new ideas and projects in progress. Support within and outside the core team enables us to go above and beyond in commitment to our goals and cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural perspectives enhance our reach and impact by ensuring feasible and context-relevant approaches.'
Laura Vincent, Head of Intensive Care Simulation and Human Factors
Laura sits across both the Clinical Governance and Education teams in critical care, and through her OxSTaR role delivers human factors and patient safety training across specialties and professional groups throughout Oxford University Hospitals.
‘I’m absolutely passionate about high quality education that has a meaningful impact on quality of care, patient safety, staff confidence and staff wellbeing – simulation-based education ticks all these boxes, and never more obviously than during the pandemic. OxSTaR is like an extended family, that I am so proud and thankful to be part of – a high functioning, close-knit and constant team of pluripotent individuals. They have supported me throughout my development as a human factors and simulation specialist and continue to allow me to develop my education career both academically and practically as a Consultant in Intensive Care. When clinical work is challenging, a day spent with the OxSTaR team is rejuvenating and inspiring. I am excited about the endless opportunities ahead for OxSTaR as we develop both our teaching and research capacity.’
Sally Shiels, Head of Virtual Reality Simulation
‘I feel I’ve evolved enormously as an educator through my time working in OxSTaR. In part because the team ethos is so collaborative and supportive, but also because I’ve been given the freedom to drive the projects in virtual reality and appreciative inquiry independently. I’ve been able to build a team that is doing extremely exciting work in this area for the benefit of students and staff in healthcare, and, most importantly, our patients.’