‘Virtual reality’ headsets being used to train up hospital trust’s nurses

Trainee nurses at Middlesbrough’s James Cook University Hospital are using virtual reality headsets as part of an innovative teaching approach to their training.

A pilot scheme, partly funded by Health Education England, has also provided the use of state-of-the-art “immersive” simulation suites in which practical tasks and exercises can be carried out. The student nurses apply evidence based practice in such settings, while they are encouraged by trainers to problem solve, make decisions and demonstrate effective leadership.

A 12-week training program is providing placements for up to 20 students with the training delivered over six two-week blocks.

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Lindsay Felgate, a practice placement facilitator who has developed the program, said it provided the South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust trainee nurses with high quality simulated learning experiences and opportunities in a safe environment.

She said: “We aim to prepare a future NHS workforce who are highly skilled, innovative in their approach and equipped to practice safely and effectively, ensuring patient safety is paramount.”

Recently the trust held a recruitment event for soon-to-be qualified nurses which was attended by about 40 students from Teesside University. The trust is also signed up to an NHS England program which recruits international nurses and has an international nurses’ facilitator to assist new arrivals, along with various support packages that are in place.

According to data from the Nursing and Midwifery Council nearly half of the new nurses and midwives registered to work in the UK in the past year – 23,408 – came from abroad with 66% hailing from either India or the Philippines.

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