Patient simulation programme helps train nurses
A new simulation-based learning programme has been developed by researchers at Monash University in conjunction with the University of Queensland, Deakin University, Federation Training and other international partners, that helps student nurses learn how to better manage and help deteriorating patients.
Associate Professor Simon Cooper is lead developer of the project and head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Monash University. He explained that the simulation was developed in response to concerns from medical researchers and professionals that deteriorating patients were often mismanaged on busy wards.
"Deteriorating patients are not always identified by health care professionals, with reports showing that key signs are missed in up to 46 per cent of hospital cases," Associate Professor Cooper said.
"It is a serious patient safety problem internationally. Managing a deteriorating patient is not particularly complex, but in a stressful situation nurses can forget the essentials."
Sudden deterioration of a patient is not a frequent occurrence; so healthcare staff may become deskilled in the management of emergencies. The programme (FIRST2ACTweb™) allows students and healthcare workers to put their skills and knowledge to the test in a realistic setting – and see the consequences of any wrong decisions.
Students work through three scenarios depicting ‘patients’ (professional actors) who show signs of deteriorating. In a set time, the student has to select the appropriate treatment or procedure, for example giving oxygen, taking blood tests or changing the bed position. If they get it wrong, the 'patient' fails to improve.
The programme is now in use for nursing students at Monash University’s Berwick campus and has been found to have a positive impact on both educational outcomes and within clinical practice.