Simulation-based education is embedded in numerous undergraduate, postgraduate and post-qualifying modules at the University of Salford (UoS) and is embraced as an innovative method of teaching and learning in health and social care curricula.
In 2015, at the UoS, a project to develop a state-of-the-art clinical simulation suite commenced. The aim of the project was to develop a multi-functional suite to replicate a real hospital environment and provide a supportive learning environment for students. A team of academics in the School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work and Social Sciences worked in partnership with architects with experience in creating healthcare settings, with the objective of designing a realistic environment to enable learners to become fully immersed in a clinical scenario. David Gaba, the proponent of simulation, advocates that simulation should replicate significant elements of the real world in a fully interactive manner (Gaba, 2004).
Two self-contained, swipe access suites were created: the nursing suite and the midwifery suite. The nursing suite consists of an adult bay, children and young people’s bay, two side rooms, bathroom, treatment room, day room and nurse’s station. The midwifery suite comprises two ward areas, a delivery room and home birthing area. All the fixtures, fittings and décor are in keeping with those found in modern hospital and include emergency and nurse call buzzers, simulated oxygen and suction ports and bed lights. The nine human patient simulators (HPS) are operated by experienced technicians from spacious control rooms within the suite. The highly advanced audio-visual system enables observation throughout all the areas of the suite and the remote provision for the voice of the HPS’.
The AV system is networked to enable streaming to classrooms which facilitates peer review and scenarios can recorded and played back, particularly useful during the debriefing process. Debriefing is an essential component of simulation based education and Dreifuerst (2009) suggests that debriefing draws out student thinking and assists in the development of complex decision-making skills. The dedicated debriefing room is also equipped with the AV system and thus allows for facilitators to review the debriefing. In turn, an immersive interactive system in the suite enables any environment to be created by projecting images/videos on to the walls and floor, further enhancing the learning opportunities within the suite.
Nursing students who have used the suite have responded positively to the environment. All simulation sessions are evaluated and students have commented positively about the authenticity of the environment and the positive impact that this has had on the learning experience.
Neil Withnell, Louise Yuill and Bernard Seddon