Nursing students could spend more time in simulated healthcare settings and “skills labs” in the future, as universities look for new ways to provide hands-on learning.
Professor Ieuan Ellis, chair of the Council of Deans of Health, said shifting the balance towards more simulated learning was one option to tackle placement shortages.
“If you have got challenges on the quality of some placements, and yet can demonstrate the outcomes of learning in a simulated environment are very good, then it makes sense to keep re-visiting the appropriate balance between simulated learning in clinical skills laboratories and learning in placement settings,” he said.
Angela Parry, director of clinical education at the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery at King’s College London, said simulator facilities could be a hugely valuable training tool.
All King’s nursing students spend time at a simulation and learning centre, which includes a mocked-up ward with six beds and a new community care scenario where students enter a patient’s “home”.
“The most important thing is that students are safe and patients are kept safe, so any opportunity for skills rehearsal in an environment where you can get direct feedback can only be a good thing,” Ms Parry told Nursing Times.
“The evidence suggests it increases students’ competence and confidence and what we have found is that when student who have done our community simulation actually go out into the community they have a much better learning outcome,” she added.
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