State of the art 'ward' gives UWE Bristol healthcare students a head start

Issue date: 25 September 2013

Launch of Skills and Simulation Centre at Glenside Campus, UWE Bristol, 3 October 2013

See flickr gallery of images here

A fantastic new Skills and Simulation Centre has opened for business at the University of the West of England Glenside Campus.

The Centre mimics a hospital ward and will enable students to practice what they learn before going into a real hospital on work placement. The new Centre will be officially launched at a special event on 3 October and opened by Professor Ian Cumming, Chief Executive of Health Education England, the national body overseeing the NHS workforce.

Part of a £2.5 million investment programme to make the health care learning resources fit for the 21st century, over £1million has been spent creating a replica ward, consultation rooms, a maternity unit, a hand washing room, stock rooms and more.

Every detail has been considered to make the learning experience as close as possible to the future working environments for students on the entire range of health care courses offered by the University.

Helen Langton, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences, enthuses, “This investment enables us to provide real world training through simulation. We want our students to enter the health professions with the right knowledge and skills alongside the values and behaviours of the NHS so they can carry out their roles effectively.

“This investment is part of a rolling programme to make the student learning experience for health care professions at UWE Bristol second to none. The resources at the new Centre are supplemented by a raft of other smart learning tools including simulated learning developed by UWE experts using U Choose and a Virtual Linear Accelerator.”

The Skills and Simulation Centre will enable the students to practice in a safe environment but one that reflects as near possible the actual conditions in practice. Everything provided is genuine equipment used in NHS hospitals from the flooring to beds to wash rooms to birthing pools.

In the ward each bed has a mannequin programmed to mimic different illnesses from breathing problems to heart attacks. The simulated learning sessions can be recorded by cameras overlooking each bed so that students can appraise and self-evaluate following each tutorial. Other resources include a mock maternity unit with a birthing pool and a pregnant mannequin that gives birth to a mannequin baby.

Helen Langton continues, “There is no substitution for practice but in the simulated ward the students can make mistakes without harming anyone and as we all know we can learn well from being able to make mistakes as well as from practicing skills in a safe environment before going into real health care environments. We will ensure that students act professionally, for example all activities in the ward will require students to don full hospital uniform and to wash their hands properly in the hand washing rooms prior to entering the ward.

“Students will be able to play back learning sessions, appraise their own and others performance of different tasks so they can see the impact a mistake might have but also replay when they get things right.

Zoe Veal, Programme Manager in Children's nursing is thrilled with the new resources, “The new Centre feels exactly like a real hospital and this will impact positively on the students as it will be easier for them to get into role. The simulations we set up include both clinical skills and empathetic scenarios. It's obviously important that students learn to give the right drugs and follow correct procedure, but simulation also helps the students to develop how they communicate with patients.”

Rachel Williams, Senior Lecturer and Simulation lead for adult nursing said, “It's fantastic that we will be able to play back videos of some of the exercises as students will be able to reflect back on what they have learned. The ward will also enable us to develop inter professional learning opportunities where student radiographers, paramedics, physiotherapists and nurses can act out scenarios similar to those they will encounter in a real hospital.”

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