Clinical Simulation in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Keele University

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Clinical simulation helps our students to develop their experience, confidence and skills. We have two simulation spaces on campus for students to practice their skills, in addition to the facilities at the Clinical Education Centre, and two simulation families of eight mannequins.

The whole idea of simulation is to provide students with experiences that closely resemble clinical care. This helps them develop their confidence and a wide range of skills. Over the last 12 months, we've invested in our Bungalow and also Newcastle Lodge. These locations now feature home-like areas where people can simulate scenarios alongside our clinical areas at the Clinical Education Center. Everything related to skills and simulation is centered around patient safety. The goal is to ensure that the end user, in this case, the patients, is safe because our students become more competent through their engagement with simulation.

For students undergoing their training, they spend 2,300 hours in clinical placements. However, there is sometimes unwarranted variation in their exposure. For example, one of my students once mentioned not having seen a cardiac arrest, which is a critical experience. Simulation allows us to guarantee that every student gets exposed to these challenging situations. Peer review is an integral part of this process, with students working together and supporting one another. Moreover, the learning experience is designed to be enjoyable, as we believe that students can learn a lot while having fun. Our ultimate goal is to prepare our students to be the very best practitioners when they qualify.

We now possess two sets of SIM families, totalling eight mannequins at Q University. We are incredibly excited about these mannequins, as they have delivered an impressive array of scenarios for our students. Our passion lies in ensuring that our students are confident and competent in delivering future healthcare skills. Our mannequins are highly versatile; they can breathe, blink, infuse fluids, and simulate various physiological functions such as heartbeats and respiratory signs. It is worth noting that while they can simulate death, our primary aim is to ensure that our students are skilled at saving lives. The environment is always fail-safe, allowing students to hone their skills and receive immediate feedback, which is not easily achievable in healthcare settings.

The concept behind the skills boxes is that they can be utilized throughout the nursing and midwifery programs, across all years. Students can access them on campus at their convenience, using them for various skills training, including blood pressure measurement, chest auscultation, tympanic temperature monitoring, and more. The possibilities are endless, and students can work collaboratively to improve their problem-solving and clinical skills.

We have two control rooms, each with two stations and screens. These rooms are intended for use at Newcastle Lodge and Barnes Bungalow. Each location is equipped with 14 cameras, and facilitators can remotely monitor the rooms and simulations. The cameras are adjustable, allowing zooming in and out and changing positions according to the scenario's requirements. The system also offers the capability to record simulations, and multiple cameras can be recorded simultaneously if needed. It is a user-friendly and flexible system that can be easily adapted for future needs.

Regarding the scenarios, there are virtually no limits to what we can set up. Our imagination is the only constraint. We can create scenarios ranging from hospital wards to houses and assisted living facilities. The dedicated simulation space adds an extra layer of realism, as it's purpose-built for these activities. We have a wide range of props and clinical materials that enhance the fidelity of the simulations. In summary, the dedicated space, along with the available props, enables us to create a highly realistic environment for the students.

Furthermore, students have the opportunity to review and analise their simulation experiences in the health houses. These debrief sessions are invaluable for students, allowing them to reflect on and learn from their time in the simulation. Many students have reported increased confidence and a better understanding of their strengths, which positively impacts their transition to real-world clinical practice.