The HESTA Superannuation Australian Nursing Awards were introduced in 2007 to honour and recognise nurses, graduate nurses and nursing innovations that make a difference.
The Innovation in Nursing category acknowledges nurses or teams who have developed or implemented innovative products, services or processes that benefit patients.
The Award recognises ECU's commitment to producing competent graduates through healthcare simulation and scenario-based learning innovations using actors.
The School has developed the ECU Centre for Excellence in Healthcare Simulation to facilitate scenario-based learning to ensure that nursing graduates are well-equipped and confident in dealing with a range of challenging clinical scenarios.
Simulations involving actors have become an increasingly important part of nursing education at ECU, allowing students and industry to gain experience in managing the holistic needs of each 'patient' and their family.
Head of ECU's School of Nursing, Midwifery and Postgraduate Medicine, Professor Cobie Rudd, explains that it is important for nursing students to become confident in dealing with a wide range of patients and scenarios.
"Nursing students undertake a number of practicum placements to develop a full range of nursing skills but a number of years ago, we found that some of our graduates were dealing with situations in the workplace that they had never experienced before," she said.
"With trained actors taking on the role of patients and their families, students are now able to expand their learning in all areas and experience challenging unpredictable situations in a safe and controlled environment."
Professor Rudd and team leader, Associate Professor Christopher Churchouse are now hoping to expand the library of scenarios to include specialist areas such as Alzheimer's care, youth suicide, domestic violence and drug and alcohol issues.
They are keen for ongoing collaboration with community organisations that have specialist knowledge in these areas, so that students are able to learn techniques to support patients under their care.
ECU's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Kerry Cox said that ECU has a strong reputation for providing job-ready nursing graduates.
"The work being undertaken at the Centre for Excellence in Healthcare Simulation has resulted in a higher standard of nursing education, and our graduates are competent and fully prepared to deal with the situations they may face in the workplace," he said.
"Scenario-based training is a cutting edge learning strategy developed at ECU to ensure nursing graduates can confidently provide adequate care to patients in the most demanding of cases."
After taking out the WA award, ECU is now a national finalist, with the winner to be announced at the HESTA Australian Nursing Awards gala dinner in Melbourne on Thursday, 15 May. The national winner will receive $10,000 in prize money to further develop their innovation.
For more information about nursing careers at ECU, visit reachyourpotential.com.au.
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Edith Cowan University's (ECU) School of Nursing, Midwifery and Postgraduate Medicine is the State winner for the Innovation in Nursing category of the HESTA Australian Nursing Awards.