This blog is our way of sharing our experiences of using simulation suits with student nurses.
We won 3rd prize this year in the School of Health Sciences ‘ Health has Got Talent’ event. This is a platform for academics and professional staff to showcase innovative work they are undertaking to enhance the students’ learning experience.
We both teach on the pre-registration Adult nursing programmes and have been developing Simulated Practice for the last few years. This entails student nurses undertaking simulated health care experiences in a safe and controlled, but realistic environment. These take place in the Clinical Skills Centre which was purpose built to provide state of the art facilities for health care students.
Some of the most important qualities nursing students should possess are those of empathy and compassion. However, it is very difficult to teach these and so they are best developed by students expanding their range of experiences and reflecting upon how these can impact upon their professional practice.
We have an increasingly ageing population and the levels of morbid obesity within the UK has risen significantly in the last decade. It can be difficult to appreciate the impact of these on lifestyle and activity. We have invested in old age and bariatric simulation suits which enable students to experience some of the limitations that can come with age or with obesity.
Students are asked to put on the suits and then carry out everyday activities which they then video. Students are then asked to reflect on their experiences and have been able to discuss both the physical and psychological impacts of ageing or being overweight and link this to how they can adapt their future nursing practice. Students have evaluated these simulation sessions very positively and we now plan to carry out a more formal research project to evaluate the impact these sessions have on student learning.
Janet Hunter and Karen Rawlings-Anderson