University’s Simulation Training Shapes Health Workforce

Healthcare professionals of the future are now reaping the benefits of Swansea University’s groundbreaking training facilities, specifically their simulation training capabilities.

Swansea University Simulation and Immersive Learning Centre (SUSIM) houses the largest installation of immersive wall technology globally across its two sites.

The main campus centre features eight immersive wall simulation suites, supported by a team of simulation technologists and expert academics, with three additional suites in the University’s West Wales campus.

Its unique facilities mean students can learn and practise skills and teamwork in a variety of simulated real-life scenarios. They also get the chance work with learners from healthcare courses across the University’s Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences, mirroring the multidisciplinary team working they will experience in their professional lives.

Children’s nursing student Rosie Read said the centre had been massively beneficial to her training: “It allows you to immerse yourself in a realistic environment while still being in a safe space to learn. Also, we can develop new skills and interact with members from other disciplines which is great preparation for placement and qualified practice.”

Fellow nursing student Chloe Woodbridge said she had become more confident, thanks to SUSIM:

“The amazing technology provides a life-like healthcare environment, which means I have gained experience with dealing with high-pressure situations, which increased my confidence and prepared me for when I was out in clinical practice.”

Her colleague Cerys Evans agreed: “Running through different scenarios, such as responding to an anaphylaxis episode and a resuscitation, gives students more of an idea of what is expected of them in practice and takes away some of the anxiety and fear around dealing with these situations.”

Simulation unlocks new possibilities for healthcare training

The learning offered at the centre, which occupies an entire building on the Singleton Campus, is complemented by an additional three simulation suites at the University’s St David’s Park base in Carmarthen.

Senior lecturer in child nursing Virginia Beckerman said: “The opportunity to teach and learn through simulation has been overwhelmingly positive. For pre-registration children’s nursing students and nursing students in general, bridging the gap between theory to practice is an ongoing aim and simulation is a well-evidenced tool to aid this process. The benefits of developing skills and knowledge in a simulated and psychologically safe environment cannot be overestimated.”

Simulation Lead Swansea University Medical School Dr David Lee believes the centre had invigorated the clinical skills training at the heart of the Graduate Entry Medical Programme.

He said: “From first years to final years, students have had the chance to immerse themselves in realistic clinical situations that prepare them for life as a newly qualified doctor. Besides the accurate portrayal of wards, theatres and primary care environments, the immersive environment also allows data interpretation and clinical problem-solving to be performed together.

“This nurtures the fundamental diagnostic skills of medicine alongside the core communication and teamwork skills that create an efficient and effective NHS workforce.”

Head of Simulation (SUSIM) Associate Professor Jo Davies said: “We are extremely proud of all we have achieved and the fact we are now at the forefront of healthcare education in the UK.

“The centre is not only an invaluable asset to our existing learners, but it is also proving to be a major attraction for prospective students. Open days have included tours of our facilities supported by our experienced simulation team, and the feedback we’ve received has highlighted how students are positively influenced by the incredible learning opportunities they will experience at Swansea.”

Faculty Executive Dean and Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Keith Lloyd said: “We are confident that by offering an unrivalled and dynamic learning experience we can encourage more people to consider entering our healthcare workforce, knowing they will receive the very best training here at Swansea.”

And it isn’t just students who are benefiting from the development. The centre is also being used by health boards for further development and training of their workforces, plus the unique immersive experience and technology is also available for hire by external agencies who can adapt the setting and scenarios for their own training requirements.