Clinical Skills – From the Horse’s Mouth

Written by David Turner – Clinical Skills Lecturer

The clinical skills teaching facility, Clinical Skills and Simulation Centre (CSSC), has recently been extended to include additional teaching rooms, a home environment room and simulation suite, this is in addition to the existing two principal clinical skills rooms that reflect the hospital ward environment. The CSSC is designed to provide the student with a safe, realistic and pleasant learning environment, and is equipped with all the latest resources required for training pre and post registration nursing and midwifery students in a range of clinical skill, including state of the art simulation training equipment.

The Bachelor of Nursing Programme provides clinical skills teaching in a range of mandatory and core clinical skills. A blended learning approach incorporating a practical session taught in the clinical skills laboratories and/or an online component (accessed in Blackboard) is adopted for each clinical skill.

In addition to gaining exposure to a range of clinical skills the students have the opportunity to develop confidence, interpersonal and team working skills in a safe environment, complimenting clinical skills teaching and experience gained during clinical practice placements.

The clinical skills are delivered over three years; the online Core Skills Framework (CSF) has to be completed prior to commencement of the students first practice placement. The practical component of the CSF: Basic Life Support, Moving and Handling and Infection Prevention and Control, are also delivered prior to the students first practice placement. It is also mandatory that certain Core Skills are updated in years two and three.

Other skills are taught across fields in the first year of the programme; in the second and third years field specific skills are taught with the exception of Enhanced Life Support (incorporating Basic Life Support update) and Moving and handling of People update, these are taught across fields in the second year of the programme.

A range of teaching methods are utilised during training sessions including demonstration, supervised practice, peer supervision and simulation. We are constantly striving to enhance the student experience; recent developments include a dedicated team of staff delivering clinical skills and appointment of a clinical skills technician to optimise the facilitation of clinical skills, resources and the learning environment.

Another recent addition is the online resource Clinicalskills.net that has more than 200 peer-reviewed clinical skills procedures, all in a highly illustrated step-by-step format with links to further published guidance. A link to Clinicalskills.net can be found in Blackboard, Clinical Skills and Core Skills Framework, My community. One way students can use Clinicalskills.net is to prepare for a procedure they are likely to be exposed to in practice, they can print out the procedures and have it available in their practice placements.

We are also currently evaluating a trial of drop in sessions for certain clinical skills, however, I am sure you can appreciate this presents many challenges that are not straight forward to overcome and will limit what drop in sessions we can provide in the future.

David Turner

Lecturer – Clinical Skills

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