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Dr Nita Muir RN

Head of the School of Nursing and Allied Health, University of Chichester

James Wilson

Senior Lecturer in Nursing, University of Chichester

State-of-the-art training gives the next generation of nurses and health workers the skills and competencies they need to deliver safe and compassionate care to their patients.


Healthcare professionals are the lifeblood of the NHS — although, currently, they are in short supply. “There’s a huge deficit of trained healthcare staff in the UK,” admits Dr Nita Muir RN, Head of the School of Nursing and Allied Health at the University of Chichester. “We aim to expand the available pool of home-grown nurses and allied health practitioners and develop those currently working in the sector.” 

Learning facilities with simulation-based training 

With health and social care becoming more integrated, the School of Nursing and Allied Health — a state-of-the-art facility which opened in September 2021 — is working with its clinical partners to deliver education in the most proficient way possible.  

Students spend half their time learning academically and half gaining crucial clinical experience in the clinical environment AND simulation-based learning. For example, the school has a six-bed unit which recreates a ward environment; a GP practice room which recreates a primary care environment; and a fully functioning interactive flat which recreates a community environment.  

Students encounter actors within these settings who act out situations and patients with different symptoms and unpredictable healthcare challenges. In the ward environment, students have access to a robot patient and are confronted with a variety of facilitated scenarios, including emergency situations.  

A key part of learning is to give trainee nurses
exposure to complex and, sometimes,
extremely stressful situations they
will encounter in clinical practice.

James Wilson

Careful learning to develop skills and protect patients 

“A key part of learning is to give trainee nurses exposure to complex and, sometimes, extremely stressful situations they will encounter in clinical practice,” explains James Wilson, Senior Lecturer in Nursing, National Teaching Fellow, University of Chichester.  

“By carefully managing this in the safe space of a simulated environment, students can develop their professional knowledge and decision-making skills. It also means we rely less on placement learning and, crucially, keep patients safe — which is our main driver.” 

Enhanced learning and virtual experiences 

New technology powers facilitated learning environments and plays a significant part in training. For instance, the school has an immersive learning room — a physical space which projects different healthcare scenes (such as A&E and roadside care) onto its walls. It also uses virtual reality (VR) headsets allowing all students to enter virtual medical scenarios at the same time.  

However, Dr Muir stresses that technology must always be applied appropriately to enhance learning — and not used simply because it is available. “Tech does not replace the essence of clinical learning,” she says. “As educators, we never forget that our objective is to develop a highly proficient workforce who can offer safe and compassionate care to their patients.” 

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