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Finger on the pulse

Michelle Kelly, photo by Joanne SaadMichelle Kelly, photo by Joanne Saad

In summary:

  • The Nursing, Midwifery and Health spaces in building 10 are enjoying a $2.4 million upgrade
  • Lecturer Michelle Kelly discusses the state-of-the-art technological development and the enormous benefits to students

"I can't wait. It'll be fantastic!" Michelle Kelly is excited, and it’s not just because she’s on sabbatical. As Lecturer and Director of Simulation and Technologies, Kelly is anticipating the state-of-the-art $2.4 million upgrade to the Nursing, Midwifery and Health spaces in building 10, City campus.

These expanded student, teaching and research facilities will feature new interactive technology and equipment, integrated in the laboratories to enable more authentic and contemporary learning environments.

Included in the upgrade will be new clinical and simulation laboratories, with a comprehensive range of simulation manikins and trainers.

"Using simulation learning strategies, students can actively participate in authentic patient-care scenarios. Students comment that simulations make them ‘think on their feet’, as they’re exposed to the roles and responsibilities of registered nurses.”

Kelly focuses on how team-based clinical simulations can enhance students’ clinical judgement, improve confidence and enhance practical learning in preparation for professional work.

"The advanced patient simulator manikins – with realistic anatomical features such as complex airway systems, rising and falling chests, and heart and lung sounds – take teaching and learning to another level. They inspire immersion and actually quite a lot of creativity in the students and lecturers too."

A trauma or surgical scenario involves not only blood and simulated convulsions, but giving a voice to the manikin for real-time responses. This means the lecturer can direct the team of students in how to engage with the patient and seek permission to provide care.

"That's vitally important to learn. If you've ever been a patient in a hospital and had someone just come up and put their hands on you, it's a bit like, 'Excuse me, who are you and what are you doing?'"

However, it's not just about the dummies. Other aspects of simulation allow an immersive experience for students and academics alike.

"The facilities themselves are just as important. We have ceiling-mounted cameras and digital recording devices, so part of a student's learning is viewing back what they have just done to reflect on their practices.”

Kelly recognised the benefits of advanced simulations earlier than most. While on a previous sabbatical in 2005, she investigated new technologies and, after touring leading facilities throughout Australia, America and the United Kingdom, brought what she had learned back to UTS.

With the support of faculty management, Kelly was able to take up a lead role in mentoring staff and implementing these new innovative practices into the faculty's curriculum.

Since then, she has been at the forefront of implementing advanced simulated learning. In August last year, Kelly was awarded an Australian Teaching and Learning Council (ATLC) Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning. The award recognised her sustained leadership and mentorship of academics and student nurses and midwives in enhancing their readiness for practice through simulation learning experiences.

Her leadership in the field has seen her invited to Oman and New Zealand to facilitate short courses in healthcare simulation, and last month she gave a talk to Senior Nursing Managers and Deans of Nursing in the state, updating them on advancements in the field on behalf of the Chief Nurse of NSW.

“It’s very satisfying hearing from students that learning through simulation has made a difference in their confidence and ability to provide patient care. Equally pleasing is feedback from nurse educators and academics that appreciate the powerful, engaged learning that simulation enables.

“And the best thing is that it’s fun – participants’ engagement and responses in the simulations never fail to amaze me.”

Xavier Mayes
Marketing and Communication Unit

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