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North East student nurses to learn at pioneering ‘living lab’

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A pioneering new facility designed to change how healthcare professionals are trained and how healthcare providers collaborate to improve patient care has been opened in the North East region.

Nursing students are expected to benefit from the University of Sunderland’s new “living lab” with its advanced healthcare industry simulation equipment in interactive spaces and realistic settings.

“It has raised the bar for Higher Education providers across the country”

Lisa Bayliss-Pratt

The lab reflects various care settings, from a mock hospital ward, pharmacy dispensary and dementia friendly patient’s flat to a hi-fidelity simulation suite and a centre delivering training to those involved in patient care using the latest technology.

The facility was officially opened last week by Professor Lisa Bayliss Pratt, chief nurse of the national workforce planning body Health Education England.

She said: “I have not experienced anything quite so exciting as the University of Sunderland’s nursing and care ambitions for the people of Sunderland and beyond.”

“I’m very excited to be here to see the facility completed and honoured to open it,” she said, adding that the facility would allow ideas to “flourish into ground-breaking news ways of thinking and practising”.

“The University of Sunderland’s practical approach to tackling the healthcare challenges we face is inspiring. It has raised the bar for Higher Education providers across the country,” she said.

Sunderland University’s vice-chancellor Shirley Atkinson, said the new lab represented “teaching space that mirrors the real world, where healthcare students can learn the skills they need”.

The facility was developed in collaboration with City Hospitals Sunderland and other regional trust partners, plus Sunderland’s Clinical Commissioning Group.

Professor Tony Alabaster, dean of the university’s Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing, said: “I’m very proud of what we have achieved.

“Our Living Lab is unlike anything you will find anywhere else, and it needs to be,” he said. “The move to patient-centred and precision medicine, integrated and community-based healthcare is having a profound impact on the skills our healthcare providers need.

He added: “We want to ensure our nursing, paramedic and pharmacy graduates are well equipped with the skills to meet those challenges throughout their academic career and beyond.”

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