University launches Immersive Suite for healthcare students to hone skills in safe environment

11 August 2016

A state-of-the-art Immersive Suite has been launched at the University of Derby, providing nursing and healthcare students with a real life simulated environment to hone their skills.

The University is the second higher education institution, in the UK, to install this particular system, and the first outside of London.  

The new Immersive Suite allows students to experience the atmosphere of an emergency scenario without the risk to patients. The suite projects images onto the walls, ceiling and floor, while the noise comes from speakers in the room, imitating the inside of an ambulance, a busy A&E ward or an operating theatre.

David Foreman, Senior Lecturer in Nursing at the University of Derby, said: “Environments which might be challenging for students in any context within health and social care can be created to allow students to practice in a safe but realistic way. The only restrictions to the creation of simulated environments are our imaginations.”

Nursing students at the University, Nicola Kirk- Pitts and Lucy Taylor, were the first students to trial the suite.

Nicola, soon to be entering her last year of study at the University, said: “It allowed us to experience the patient’s journey from start to finish in a safe environment. Working with friends also means we can encourage each other along the way.”

Students using new healthcare teaching systems

Lucy, due to enter her second year of study, added: “First year students can use this equipment to practice and, therefore, won’t feel as intimidated when starting their placement.”

The same simulation system is set to be available at the University’s Chesterfield campus when the St. Helena’s building opens this autumn. The renovated girl’s school will now be home to world class facilities.

David Foreman added: “The students may also use the space as a self-directed learning resource complimenting their clinical skills teaching that supports their critical thinking skills. They can explore clinical environments and seek more information by interacting with a series of triggers. Triggers that the students can use to guide them during early years can be hidden in later years to stimulate critical thinking and clinical decision making as they gain experience and knowledge.”

In addition to the new Immersive Suite, the University is currently refurbishing its Diagnostic Imaging Suite as part of its drive to create real world facilities for students.