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Berwick Centre for Health provides virtual simulation learning

Photo: Berwick Centre for Health
The Berwick Centre for Health, a $15 million-dollar purpose-built teaching and simulation facility, has officially opened in Victoria to provide students in nursing, community services and allied health the chance to experience virtual-simulation learning.

Incorporated into the State Government’s vision for the Berwick Health and Education Precinct, it complements the training partnership that Chisholm has with the nearby St John of God Hospital, Specialist Centre and Casey Hospital.

Chisholm CEO, Dr Rick Ede said the facility is equipped with the latest technology to support vocational education and training in health.

“Students and staff now have access to the latest technology and learning spaces to support careers in a range of health services and being located just a couple of hundred metres from the local hospitals will also benefit our students.
“For our staff, it is a different way of teaching and working – it’s very collaborative. It provides the students with a much more engaging and immersive experience so that when they transition to the workplace, they’re already very familiar with the environment,” Dr Ede said.

General Manager, Health, Chisholm Institute, Dr Susan Maastricht said students and staff had embraced the new facility.

“From our first day of teaching in our new location, students were amazed by the technology, life-like patients and training rooms which are designed to replicate hospital wards, counselling services and home care.

“We have two simulated laboratories with observation rooms, which allows students to discuss a training procedure or to review the activity of their peers,” Dr Maastricht said.

CEO, St John of God Hospital, Lisa Norman said the new facility presents benefits for both students and nursing staff.

“It’s an opportunity for us and the students to develop a more predictable relationship, where we understand the classes and education delivery, and how industry-ready the students are.

“Equally for the students to become more familiar with how we operate. When I walk through the facilities, I see unlimited potential,” Ms Norman said.

The facility has 30 beds throughout four replica hospital wards, each with patient beds and specialised Laerdal Simulation Mannequins that can be programmed to respond to treatment and medication, explain their symptoms and use AI technology to engage in a real-time conversation.

There are also 12 collaborative classrooms, informal learning commons, group study pods, and open plan staff workspaces.

Taryn Kellerman, a nursing teacher at the facility, said the interactive nature of the environment enables active learning and real-world confidence in nursing.

“The students are able to learn not only in classrooms designed for active learning but also in simulation labs, set up with observation rooms.

“Virtual simulation has become a big part of the learning environment, and we’re seeing students feeling more prepared for placement than what they were before.

“One of the biggest benefits is the ability to increase our engagement in the classrooms with the students.  Through the use of these classrooms, simulation labs and Mannequins we are seeing an increased level of critical thinking.

“They love the lab time where they can watch their peers demonstrate and go through a simulation, and then all debrief and reflect on it together in a safe environment,” said Ms Kellerman.


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Haley Williams

Haley Williams has a Bachelor of Communication in Journalism and over a decade of experience in the media, marketing and communications industries.

She is a widely published journalist with a particular interest in writing magazine features on parenting, health, fitness, nutrition and education.

Before becoming a freelance journalist, Haley worked as a writer for NeoLife (a worldwide nutrition company), News Limited and APN News & Media.

Haley also has extensive experience as an SEO Content Writer and Digital Marketing Strategist.