Sydney Physiotherapy School launches simulated hospital environment

A six-bed hospital ward and a rehabilitation outpatient gymnasium to serve as a clinical simulation facility for Sydney Physiotherapy School students at the Faculty of Health Science was officially opened recently.

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The facility provides students with hands-on experience before undertaking traditional clinical placement in the acute cardiopulmonary area or the rehabilitation/neurological area of practice.

“The development of the clinical simulation facility is very exciting as it will provide authentic clinical learning experiences under the guidance of expert clinical educators and is a great opportunity to bridge the gap between academic and clinical teaching” said Jennifer Alison, professor of Respiratory Physiotherapy and project coordinator.

Within the environment of the facility, students are able to assess and treat “patients” who portray a range of conditions based on real patient cases, including cystic fibrosis, post-operative coronary artery bypass graft surgery, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, stroke and more. The patients are highly experienced actors sourced through the Pam McLean Communications Centre at the University of Sydney. An advantage of using actors as patients is their ability to assess the student’s performance from a patient perspective and provide feedback to enhance student learning, which rarely happens in the real clinical situation.

“The students say that it has helped them gain confidence, as well as clinical and professional skills in a very supportive environment” Sydney Physiotherapy School Professor Alison said.

There are plans to incorporate simulation into other disciplines during 2014.


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