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Students to work in virtual ward and clinic

Nursing and healthcare students at the University of Bedfordshire will have the opportunity to deal with realistic challenges in a 'virtual ward and clinic'.

The simulation suite, at the University's Butterfield campus set out as a hospital ward with lifelike mannequins, will run as a virtual ward and clinic, where students will work in shifts and tend to patients in real time conditions.

As well as having to face the various challenges and emergencies that would be found in an NHS ward or clinic, they will be able to take observations, make notes and take overall responsibility to improve the quality of care and patient's safety.

Charles Kpodo, senior lecturer in clinical human factors at the University of Bedfordshire said: “Use of the simulation suite will allow students to enhance their clinical experience. The simulation suite offers a real life clinical environment, where students can learn in a safe setting the process of caring for patients.

“We even have mannequins which mimic the physiological symptoms of patients. It helps students to assess if they're doing the right thing allowing them to transfer those learnt skills and knowledge when they're actually working on a ward.”

Students will also be able to use a new electronic record keeping software similar to the information technology found in a real healthcare environment.

The University of Bedfordshire has over 24,000 students, representing over 100 countries.

The simulation suite which also has areas set up for maternity and theatre use, has been run as a 'virtual ward' after students pitched for funds to a Dragons Den style panel as part of the vice chancellor's Student Experience Projects.

Between 2006 and 2013 over £180 million has been invested in new facilities at the university, which contributes approximately £300 million annually to the local economy.