A set of hi-tech simulation suites used to train the next generation of nurses, midwives and counsellors has been opened at the University of Salford.
The newly developed suites enable students to learn a wide range of skills in as realistic a setting as possible, featuring rooms which are designed to look exactly like hospital wards and contain realistic human patient simulators.
The patient simulators are high-tech electronic manikins, which can be operated by specialist technicians from an adjoining control room.
These simulators are able to move, “speak” via a microphone controller, blink and even sweat.
They also have pulses and moveable chest plates to simulate breathing, enabling students to respond to a wide variety of medical scenarios from minor wounds and dealing with a patient having a seizure, to carrying out cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on somebody experiencing cardiac arrest.
Students’ responses to these scenarios can be analysed in detail in the classroom by tutors and fellow students.
The university also has another set of rooms designed to look exactly like a maternity unit, featuring a set of patient simulators representing birthing women and new born babies.
This enables midwifery students to respond to any situation that might occur before, during and following labour.
The midwifery suite also includes a pool where home-based water births can be simulated, while other areas represent postnatal and neonatal units.
The £1.7m training suites come complete with everything from oxygen delivery ports to nurse call buttons and bed lights.
All equipment and furniture was purchased from NHS suppliers, with even the corridors linking the rooms designed to recreate a hospital rather than an academic environment.
The university aims for the rooms to give students practical training before going out on placements in hospitals across Greater Manchester.
Nearby, a special counselling suite has been designed in softer colours and will be used for training students to become professional counsellors and psychotherapists.
Brian Boag, interim dean of the University’s School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work and Social Sciences, said: “We are the biggest training provider of nurses and midwives in the North West and these ground-breaking facilities will provide a real benefit for the area, enabling us to give the best possible training for students who will go out and perform a service in hospitals around the region.
“Everything from light fittings to bedsheets has been designed to recreate a real-world hospital environment, so our students are as experienced as they can possibly be before they even go out to work on placements.
“Counselling is also an essential – and sadly overlooked – means of improving people’s lives and our new training suite will not only enable our students to get high quality experience as they learn these important skills, but will be used to provide a much-needed facility for local charities who want to help members of the Salford community.”