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Buckinghamshire New University's innovative simulation to enhance nursing and health students' learning has won the Teaching Excellence category at the Guardian University Awards 2016.
It is the only UK university to combine state-of-the-art simulation laboratories with the expertise of a moulage specialist who is skilled in applying mock, and often gorily realistic, injuries for training purposes.
Professor Rebecca Bunting, Vice-Chancellor of Buckinghamshire New University said:
"We are proud to win this prestigious award for teaching excellence. This achievement is testament to the way our students and academics are partners in learning across all courses at Bucks, working together to create an environment which provides the best opportunities for success."
Nursing and health students learn through an innovative combination of technology - with manikins that can be programmed to react like humans - and specialist moulage skills. This allows students to have first-time reactions to unpleasant and upsetting situations in a controlled environment and gives them the opportunity to reflect on these experiences when caring for patients on their placements and when they qualify.
The simulation includes recreating infected wounds, scarred tissue and burns as well as body fluids such as vomit, blood and sputum to give students the best possible sense of what it will be like to care for real patients once they qualify. No student is expected to rely on their imagination.
Sue West, Dean of the Faculty of Society & Health at Buckinghamshire New University, said:
"Simulation bridges the gap between academic theory and the traditional placements experienced by nursing and health students. Our students are given the opportunity to reflect on their practice in life-like learning scenarios which in turn makes their placements more effective and helps them achieve their potential."
The 'live' simulations provide a valuable opportunity for self and peer assessment as sessions are recorded using sophisticated audio-visual systems and played back during debriefings sessions. These simulated learning sessions enable students to gain comprehensive feedback whilst developing skills that could not be provided through traditional classroom-based teaching.
Sue West added: "The University is committed to meeting the demand for improved education for the health and social care sector through the integration of theory and skills development. The simulation project is part of our innovative approach to ensure our students provide high quality care and that we contribute to an informed and compassionate workforce."
Bucks New University is one of the largest providers of student nurses in north-west London.