Nursing students test skills on life-like mannequins

November 10, 2014

Nursing student Jordana Cootes with a practice mannequinMannequins at St John of God Murdoch Hospital are providing Murdoch University students with a great way to practice their skills before they start caring for real patients.

Through a partnership with St John of God Hospital and funding from Health Workforce Australia, nursing students are experiencing the job-ready benefits of simulated learning at MURTEC – a high-tech clinical learning centre. Professor Paul Morrison, Dean of Health Professions said the simulated, hands-on experience the mannequins provided students was an invaluable learning tool.

“Inter-disciplinary learning like this that combines real world skills with classroom theory is a wonderful way for students to build their confidence in a controlled environment before working with real patients,” he said.

The training rooms at MURTEC are set up like real wards, with the mannequins in beds. The mannequins are controlled via computer at a remote desk to respond physiologically to their treatment. Their heart rate fluctuates and their pupils dilate, and they are able to talk and sweat.

Ms Prue Andrus, Nursing Lecturer and expert in simulated learning environments is the senior academic lead assisting in the development and delivery of simulation to the nursing students at MURTEC.

“I work closely with Estelle Castaldini (simulation coordinator) and Sarah Anderson (simulation technician) to create a safe learning environment where students can build on previous learning and experience and apply it to the care of a simulated patient,” Ms Andrus said.

“We choose a variety of situations to engage the students from simulations that replicate emergency situations requiring emergency clinical skills to assist in the care of a critically unwell patient, to simulations that focus on working together as a team to demonstrate professional communication skills.”

The 12-week simulation course provides third year nursing students with various opportunities to enable nurses to think critically and respond to different patient scenarios. Lecturers observe students from behind one way glass and then give them feedback on their performance.

The MURTEC was constructed through a grant of $2.6m provided by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing: Innovative Clinical Teaching and Training Grants (ICTTG) Program. This project was possible due to funding made available by Health Workforce Australia.

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