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New centre looks to transform the future of adult nursing education

A new state-of-the-art centre for nursing, health and care practitioners to learn in realistic acute and community clinical settings was officially launched at the University of Portsmouth this week.

The Centre for Simulation in Health and Care will transform the learning opportunities for students on the University’s newly launched Adult Nursing Degree programme. It was officially opened by Professor Jane Cummings, the Chief Nursing Officer for England.

The Centre allows student nurses to simulate real-life scenarios on campus.

The Centre allows student nurses to simulate real-life scenarios on campus.

Professor Cummings said: “I am delighted to open this state-of-the-art centre. Innovative education and hands-on experience is key to attracting, inspiring and training our future nursing workforce. It is crucial in supporting them to develop the necessary skills to provide specialist, high quality care to all, now and for future generations.”

The new adult nursing programme has been established following a competitive procurement process led by Health Education England, to help address the national priority to increase the number of people entering the nursing profession and the health challenges of an ageing and growing population.

The programme has been designed in partnership with local NHS organisations across the region and will provide students with the skills and expertise to make safe, evidence-informed decisions about patient care in a complex and challenging environment. There is particular focus on the public health agenda, to support people to take responsibility for their own health and remain independent, especially when they live with long-term conditions.

The first cohort of 118 students began the three-year degree programme in late January 2017. As well as spending time at the University, they will complete a range of clinical placements in health care settings across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and West Sussex/Surrey borders.

The Centre’s simulated work environments provide bespoke opportunities for acute and community-based learning, which will give students the confidence to respond to challenges facing the acute health sector and make safe, patient-focused decisions. It will give students from a range of subject areas such as nursing, social work, paramedicas, forensics and pharmacy the opportunity to learn in a safe, contextual and authentic learning environment.

It boasts an impressive suite of health and care simulators and technology-enhanced learning resources including:

  • A life-size 3D virtual cadaver that will allow students to investigate the human body by virtually dissecting it. As health and care roles change to meet the needs of the population in the 21st Century, an excellent knowledge of anatomy and physiology is essential. The Anatomage Table can take real CT data from actual patients and allow surgeons to take part in a pre-surgical fly through ahead of surgery.
  • Two fully functioning acute hospital wards (Sussex and Wessex Wards).
  • 15 human patient simulators, life-like manikins which can breathe oxygen, drool, secrete fluids, blink, bleed and even react to drugs. The life-like manikins have computerised sensors that react to any treatment students apply. Students can even hear their heartbeat and sounds from their lungs and bowels.
  • Eye-tracking equipment to look into students’ eyes as they are undertaking tasks, which records what participants are looking at and for how long. The results are then analysed so staff can suggest where improvements can be made.
  • A haptic device that provides a sensation of cutting for surgical students and a virtual reality system that shows tumours in relation to the rest of the body to teach students how to use radiation to treat them.
  • Flexible simulation spaces including a GP surgery, a care home, one-bedroom flat and an ambulance that offer students the opportunity to develop practical skills necessary for working in the health and care-related sectors. Actors are brought in to provide interactions and various smells can be used to enhance realism.

Dr Chris Markham, Head of the School of Health Sciences and Social Work, said: “This facility is so important because it allows our students to be taught a wide range of skills in the same environment they’re likely to find when treating patients. For example, our hospital ward simulation spaces are fitted with 20 tagging cameras that allow teaching staff to monitor and assess student behaviours and skills without being present, which creates a more realistic scenario. In addition, we have invested in an independent learning suite to facilitate drop in practical sessions when the students feel they need it.”

“This is a hugely important development for the University, as well as our local health system partners across South East Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, West Sussex and Surrey. By working in collaboration with our local health and care organisations to inform our curriculum and training, we are helping to future proof the NHS in the challenging years ahead.”

Dr Isobel Ryder, Programme Lead for Nursing at the University of Portsmouth, said: “Our new Adult Nursing programme has been designed in response to the challenges facing the NHS in the local area. An ageing population, including increased complexity and frailty, requires a modern nursing workforce, better able to keep patients safe, across a variety of healthcare settings.  On completion of this BN programme, our graduate nurses should be better equipped to assess individuals’ needs, recognise deterioration and escalate accordingly, in whatever environment they find themselves. We are delighted at the partnership working that has enabled us to develop, approve and recruit to this new programme, within a year.”

For more details about the Centre for Simulation in Health and Care –

See a fly through video of the facilities here –

For details about the BN (Hons) Nursing (Adult) course –

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