Health students at Swansea University are now able to learn vital skills at a unique new training facility in the heart of a busy hospital.
The Aneurin Bevan Clinical Skills Centre has been created in a former ward at Singleton Hospital and provides an opportunity for nursing and medical students to practise clinical skills in a realistic environment.
The unit has been created by the University’s Medical School and College of Human and Health Sciences to provide state-of-the-art teaching facilities for nursing, physician associate and medical students.
Boasting an A&E area, critical care adult ward, children’s ward, sensory room, lecture theatre as well as medical examination rooms, the centre – based in what used to Ward 10 – was officially opened by Health Minister Vaughan Gething.
The centre been designed to follow a patient’s journey through a hospital including a replica of a patient’s home area to provide a taste of community nursing.
The Minister was given a guided tour and spoke to staff and students about the facilities which include the reminiscence room where he tried out equipment designed to help demonstrate some of the problems encountered by patients with dementia.
Mr Gething also saw the simulation equipment used to support learning. The high-tech manikins can be programmed to replicate a range of heart and breathing sounds and be used to practise techniques.
At the opening ceremony Professor Ceri Phillips, head of the College of Human and Health Sciences, described the centre as a dream come true.
He said: “When the health board gave us the opportunity to provide a facility for education here we jumped at the chance and this is the manifestation of a lot of hard work. The facilities here are state-of-the-art so we are very proud that our students can be trained in an environment that is high-tech and realistic.”
Professor Keith Lloyd, Head of the Medical School said: “This has been a really good piece of collaboration between the two colleges and we are looking forward to training the workforce of the future here.
“We have got other very bold plans which involve enhancing the offering for healthcare in West Wales as well and this is the first step.”
Welcoming the Minister, Swansea University Vice-Chancellor Paul Boyle said it was a real pleasure to see the results of the collaboration.
He said: “I am really pleased we are bringing doctors, nurses and people from a range of different disciplines together during their training.
“It also makes a huge difference for our students to have their training embedded in a hospital setting– the way they act, the way it feels will be more real to them.
“The fact that we have the Minister here really is a great sign that this is a cutting-edge facility, something that not all universities or hospitals will have.”
The Minister also praised the centre as a fantastic example of integration which he said was at the heart of modern healthcare.
“The way in which we are delivering healthcare is changing. Having two different parts of the university wanting to train people together in a context that is more like the world they are going to work in is very important.
“So the first time you meet a patient isn’t when you go out in your final year, the first time you have to work with another healthcare professionals isn’t when you finally get a job. This is new and it’s different but it has to become normal.”
He said the way in which health staff are trained was more important than ever which is why this project was so important.
“When people think about what they love about the NHS the main thing is the human face, the people who deliver the compassion, the advice and the comfort and help them make decisions.
“This demonstrates the very best of what the NHS has to offer and the people who are at the heart of it,” he said.
The suite also received investment from Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) and has been welcomed by Swansea Bay University Health Board which runs Singleton Hospital.
Executive Medical Director Richard Evans said: “Giving students the opportunity to put their training into practice in a lifelike environment will undoubtedly improve their clinical skills. This in turn will lead to a higher standard of care for patients – something we all strive to achieve.”
University Head of the Department of Nursing Professor Jayne Cutter added: “This is a truly magnificent facility which will provide our students with fantastic learning opportunities. The centre is unique, not only in terms of the quality of the equipment and the range of clinical experiences that can be replicated, but in its location.”