University of Ballarat opens new training facility for nurses

THE University of Ballarat has opened a new nursing lab which will enable students to experience real-life conditions in a patient’s home.

Chancellor Paul Hemming said the Immersive Domestic Nursing Laboratory, established with $950,000 in federal government funding, was an innovative training facility driven by the growing need for health services in the home.

“More and more health services are being provided in the home and I think it’s going to be a bigger issue as hospital beds come under stress,” he said.

Acting head of the School of Health Sciences Sally Wellard said schools of nursing traditionally used hospital beds for simulated training, but for a large proportion of health workers, the environment was now changing.

She said the lab provided a space where students could be exposed to a variety of situations where people needed assistance related to their health in their home.

“Our 50-seat auditorium gives our nursing and health sciences students a direct view of a simulated one-bedroom home,” she said.

“We believe we may be the only university in Australia to have such a lab.”

Fitted with a kitchen, bathroom and toilet, bedroom and living room, the lab’s walls are made of glass, creating a window into the house for the audience to directly view a range of situations.

This teaching space also has the capability for live transmission to external venues, while an annex to the theatre holds a fitted out ambulance and small sedan.

Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing and Member for Ballarat Catherine King said it was comparable with the best such facilities on offer in Europe and the United Kingdom 

“This new training facility for nurses is high quality; the type of facilities we want to provide for this region,” Ms King said.

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