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Nurse academic works on tool to measure student learning

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A practice nurse researcher is to work with a team of international technology experts to develop innovative new methods of assessing how well student nurses are learning.

Ann Sunderland, director of clinical skills and simulation at Leeds Beckett University, has been selected to work with Canadian Aviation Electronics (CAE) Healthcare to develop a tool that calculates the impact of a student’s simulated encounter with a patient.

“Simulation has become firmly embedded in healthcare education”

Ann Sunderland

The project, Patient Impact Scoring, will build on Ms Sunderland’s PhD research, which centres around the impact of simulation-based education on patient outcomes.

CAE Healthcare’s existing system in the university’s clinical skills suite is equipped with 13 cameras, including four mobile cameras, that allows educators to assess activity.

Ms Sunderland will compare the effects on patient outcomes in relation to both simulation-based and scheduled learning activities in postgraduate students.

She will then work with CAE Healthcare programming experts in the US to develop a tool for calculating a score that reflects the overall impact of the student’s encounter with a patient – either a lifelike mannequin or simulated patient – during a simulated scenario.

Ms Sunderland, a nurse by background, said: “Simulation has become firmly embedded in healthcare education over the last few decades as there is overwhelming evidence to support its effectiveness.

Leeds Beckett University

Nurse works on tool to measure student learning

Ann Sunderland

“Simulation-based education offers targeted learning experiences where knowledge, skills and attitudes can be learned and refined within a safe and supportive environment,” she noted.

“The ability to replicate specific clinical scenarios with immersive and interactive participation from learners – both individuals and teams – is a powerful tool with which to enhance technical and non-technical skills, as well as being a useful method of assessment,” she said.

Ms Sunderland, who has focused on nursing and research in general practice since she qualified, added that she felt “honoured” to have been selected for the programme.

“It’s great that others believe your idea has real merit and hopefully can be utilised to enhance research into simulation-based education in the future,” she said.

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