The Development of Simulation

Iain Neely
University of Derby
Innovative Deployment of Technologies


Derby University has been developing a robust, supportive simulation provision and environment to support the learning and assessment of Adult and mental health student nurses and Radiographers.

Simulation is a technique for practice and learning that involves immersion in as near a realistic situation as possible which can then be reflected upon debriefed and then developed further. It can be applied in healthcare to many different professions, disciplines and levels of training. The benefits of this type of learning are that it is safe for both practitioner and does not put patients at risk. (East Midland Simulation Strategy 2009)

We have identified leads for simulation for adult nursing, mental health nursing and radiography who work closely together.  Across the college we have been in the process of developing the structures and resources to provide quality simulation to support the delivery training for student nurses and radiographers. The first step in doing this has been to set up a simulation focus group with representation from academics, students and service users. This group is now the driving force for the delivery of simulation within the college.

From this group a number of issues have been identified. The need for a coherent strategy linked to the East midland strategy for simulation. Secondly the acquisition of resources to realise the strategy such as an immersive area, low, medium and high fidelity simulation aids such as monitors SIM pads and mannequins. In addition to this we are in the early stages of recruiting a cohort of simulated patients who can be trained developed and utilised to deliver high quality and authentic scenarios around patient care.

The third area is the development and training of academics and technicians to enable them to provide robust and innovative simulation which is progressive across the programmes and is structured in terms of the processes such as orientation, delivery and feedback /debrief ensuring things such as the terminology used is consistent. (Meakim et al 2013)  There are also the training needs in terms of understanding the technology and the role it can play in enhancing the simulation process, for example the use of filming for evaluation and feedback’s here.

What are the Aims?

We are trying to create a mechanism that both enhances and supports traditional methods of learning. Simulation is a fantastic medium for bringing together and contextualising the principles gained from didactic and low fidelity skills training and putting them into an arena where the acquisition of skill linked to the complexities of utilising these skills in the real world can be explored. In this way elements such as the effect of human factors and the impact on the ‘real person’ can be explored in a safe and non-threatening way. The opportunity to participate in the learning process in this way will increases the student’s sense of belonging, motivation and achievement (Askham 2004)

Who was/is involved?

University of Derby facilities and IT department, College of Health and Social Care simulation focus group, DREEAM, Clinical skills technicians, ASPhi.

What has changed/will change?

Since the development of this initiative we have begun to see an increase in interest in this type of educational delivery. The use of a focus group has given individuals a say in the development of this process and is enabling us to utilise the many skills that University staff possess.

What lessons have we learnt?

The resources and support required to develop and deliver quality simulation is extensive. It requires supportive management and a team approach in order to ensure that the simulation supports the aims of the related curriculum and is a dynamic and sustainable process.

Contact details

Iain Neely, Lecturer University of Derby,

Links to further information and resources

Askham P (2004). The feeling’s Mutual: Excitement, dread and trust in adult learning and teaching. Education, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield.

East Midland Healthcare Workforce Deanery (2009) East Midland Simulation Strategy 2010 – 2012

Meakim C. (2013) Standards of Best Practice: Simulation Standard I: Terminology Clinical Simulation in Nursing. 9 S3 – S11.Elsievier.