High-tech Medical Simulation Lab to support clinical education and training launched at UJ

Posted on: 03 September 2014
By: University of the Witwatersrand
Institution: University of Johannesburg
Research Area: Life Sciences

The state-of-the-art medical training simulation lab at the University’s Doornfontein Campus was launch as part of the ongoing collaboration between Phillip and the University on Tuesday, 02 September 2014.


Speaking at the launch Prof Andre Swart, Executive Dean at the UJ’s Faculty of Health Sciences said that this pioneering project will contribute to the hands-on training of students by providing clinically accurate simulations in imitated medical emergency settings.
 

Says Mr Peter van de Ven, General Manager Philips Healthcare Africa Region: “The Simulation Lab project is part of Philips’ ambition to improve the quality of healthcare in South Africa through meaningful solutions, innovations and partnerships. Recognising that lack of availability of trained and skilled healthcare professionals is an increasing challenge across Africa, Philips has been putting a lot of emphasise on clinical education and training. Philips has equipped the Simulation Lab at UJ with medical equipment and diagnostic devices intended to facilitate the exposure of emergency care students and academic staff to current medical technologies and adequately prepare them to operate under a pressurised and intense work environment.”
 

Dr Craig Lambert, Head of UJ’s Department of Emergency Medical Care echoed Mr Van de Ven’s sentiments adding that it is important that students have a fully incorporated curriculum with simulation as a key component of teaching and assessment. “Up until recently, staff and students made use of classrooms that were not purposefully designed for simulation-based learning. We started to explore ideas around creating an integrated, multi-disciplinary laboratory that would focus on teaching and assessment of clinical skills in a simulation environment. As a company focused on innovations in the healthcare sector, Philips has proved to be the ideal partner to bring this Simulation Lab concept to life.”
 

The South African Department of Higher Education and Training has also played a key role in this project by awarding a clinical training grant to assist UJ in improving the clinical competencies of health professional graduates, and getting the Simulation Lab up and running.
 

The Simulation Lab is divided into four wards: an ambulance simulation room, an emergency department representing casualty simulation, a general ward and an intensive care unit (ICU). University departments of Emergency Medical Care, Biomedical Technology, Nursing and Radiology will benefit from the training at the new Simulation Lab.

Appropriate implementation training (on a “train the trainer” basis) will be provided by Philips, as this training is central to the success and sustainability of the Simulation Lab. Philips will also provide training to the academic employees and clinicians on the correct and most effective use of all the new technologies and products which they have installed in the simulation laboratories.
 

Jose Fernandes, General Manager Philips Healthcare Southern Africa, says, “Through our ongoing partnership with one of the most respected universities in South Africa, the University of Johannesburgt, Philips is contributing much needed resources to ensure that there is a highly trained and qualified healthcare workforce for the public to rely on. We are helping to transform healthcare in South Africa by enhancing the individual performance of the next generation of healthcare professionals, which will ultimately benefit the patients in the form of good, reliable care”.
 

The partnership between Philips and UJ (established during Philips’ Cape Town to Cairo roadshow in 2013) will run over a three-year period and will allow Philips exposure to mutually agreed research opportunities relating to the use of new technologies in the emergency care environment.
 

Sophisticated life-like mannequin simulators, programmed for various conditions ranging from a mother in labour to a 60-year-old patient with signs of heart failure, that exhibit symptoms similar to live patients, enable students to gain crucial experience whilst learning to apply their skills in a range of realistic clinical situations, before the stakes are too high.

“The key to learning is to develop ‘critical thinking’, and be able to respond to the myriad of human conditions that students will encounter outside the classroom. Today’s nursing students are experiential learners,” says Prof Swart. “They require hands-on learning in order to provide the highest level of care to their patients. By simulating disaster scenarios and providing students the opportunity to practice, prepare and analyse every aspect of the chain of care and treatment, the Clinical Training Facility bridges medical simulation from health care education to community-based health care practice.”
 

“This is closest to any real-life situation our students will experience,” says Dr Lambert. “The participant-observer learning process, our multimedia training equipment and combination of formal exams, mean that the Health Services students that graduate from UJ will be among the best in the country.”
 

Prof Andre Swart concludes, “Philips is a company known for its commitment to enhancing healthcare across Africa and uplifting healthcare in the educational space. The partnership between Philips and UJ is a mutually beneficial opportunity; for UJ to expose our students to new technologies and for Philips to introduce their latest innovations into the African healthcare environment. We look forward to a long and sustainable partnership dedicated to training a solid and reliable medical workforce for South Africa to depend on.”