To get first hand knowledge, ideas and inspiration about how to organize fully immersive simulation training, faculty members from Birmingham City University (BCU) started out by visiting others with extensive experience in the field. In 2005, BCU was selected to participate in a study about integrating and trying out simulation training; a project that really spurred their own implementation.
The Faculty of Health provided the initial funding needed to develop the Clinical Skills and Simulation Learning Center. As the university recognizes the importance of ensuring that nurses and allied health professionals are fit for clinical practice, BCU ascertains that continuing funding is in place. In 2004 the university was awarded an additional three million pounds from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) in order to become a Center for Excellence and Teaching.
- 8 Adult nurse lecturers
- 2 Pediatric nurse lecturers
- 3 Mental health nurse lecturers
- 1 Learning disabilities nurse lecturer
- 1 Skills service manager
- 2 Technicians
The center is headed by the Head of Department and all instructors are senior lecturers with a professional background in nursing.
Experience with simulation training
Benefits: When students first arrive they are nervous and full of trepidation, but at the end of the simulation they say ‘‘that was brilliant, we loved it!’’ Having an enthusiastic staff has proved useful as students buy in more easily. Faculty members are convinced that simulation reinforces professional behavior and that is enhances communications between teams. As Senior Lecturer Jim Chapman puts it: ''Anecdotally, simulation reinforces student learning. Activities that students are exposed to in simulation embed learning in the student’s brain. Sometimes they refer to scenarios that took place two years ago! And simulation improves reflective thinking, especially after debriefing.’’
Challenges: The university would like to expand the simulation training, but there is currently not enough staff to do so. Simulators, support, and maintenance fees are also challenging, cost-wise. Time tabling can be demanding with skills and simulation rooms in high demand at peak times of the calendar year and with large groups, it is hard to ensure that all students are engaged while only a small group is directly involved in the simulations.
''We get time to practice and the opportunity to ask questions, as opposed to on the wards during placement. And there is room for error.’’
Amy Richardson, BCU Nurse student.
The simulation facilities comprise:
- 2 four–bed patient rooms with equipment normally found in hospital rooms
- 1 plaster room
- 2 manual handling rooms
- 1 control room
- 1 home environment room
- 1 operating theater
- 1 Skills Practice and Clinical Enhancement room