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ECU contributing towards a national program of health workforce innovation and reforms

Tuesday, 25 May 2010


Edith Cowan University (ECU) researchers will this week begin working to gain a national consensus about the validity and application of simulated learning environments in nursing education

Simulated learning environments aim to provide an authentic opportunity to improve individual skills in learning situations that traditionally had to be gained in the clinical environment. For students within the health professions this can mean the difference between practicing in a safe but simulated environment, not on real patients in real life.

The research project, led by ECU’s Associate Dean of Health, Professor Cobie Rudd, comprises a national and international team of inter-professional simulation experts, and will engage with all relevant professional groups, as well as Indigenous, medical, mental health, and Chief Nurse networks. 

Funding for the project, entitled The Use of Simulated Learning Environments in Nursing Curricula has been provided by Health Workforce Australia, through a nationally competitive process.

Professor Rudd said the researchers would first identify and gain national agreement on aspects of the existing professional entry curricula that could be delivered via simulated learning programs (SLP), and then look to map all such programs currently being delivered.

“This will allow us to identify curricula elements that could be delivered via SLPs in the future to meet clinical placement objectives,” she said.

The project team will then analyse national university survey data regarding current use of SLPs in the clinical training of nursing students and the potential future use, and identify research opportunities for expanded use of SLPs to achieve learning outcomes of clinical placements using national and international examples.

ECU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Kerry Cox said this funding is tangible evidence of the strong national reputation of ECU’s health programs and expertise in simulated learning environments.

“We’ve been committed for some time now to exploring new ways to complement and expand clinical training capacity across health disciplines.”

“This project is another example of how we can work across sectors, Australia and globally to determine better ways of addressing the pressing issue of how best to prepare students for the ‘real world’ and thus assisting health systems to provide safe and high quality health services”, he said.

The investigation will be undertaken in collaboration with two other national projects that are working to embed simulated learning environments in medicine and midwifery training.

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