Centre for Health Professions Education
Simulation and Clinical Skills Unit
Clinical skills refer to those applied practical skills that are necessary for encounters with patients. These skills range from performing a physical examination, checking blood pressure, conducting a counselling session utilising communication and empathy skills, suturing a wound and inserting a urinary catheter, amongst many others. Both undergraduate and postgraduate students from the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences are encouraged to utilise the SCSU facilities, and on occasion, other sessions are facilitated to outside institutions as well.
The SCSU offers a safe, structured environment for students to learn and practice hands-on in simulation, without fear of compromising a patient or themselves, while simultaneously receiving feedback on their performance. Clinical learning opportunities, increased awareness of patient safety and increasing student numbers are all continually contributing to the unit becoming an essential part of the foundation to all health professions programmes, and whilst the simulated environment does not replace learning in the actual clinical environment, it does prepare students for their clinical placements in the various health facilities.
Students not only attend sessions in the SCSU but are also encouraged to practice in their own time in the lab, under supervision of the SCSU staff. Peer teaching is a powerful tool in health professions education, and therefore all guidelines and teaching materials are made available on SUNLearn. Students can visit the lab and utilise these peer-assessment tools to critically review their peer's skills as a learning opportunity for growth and mastery. Assessments are also conducted in the SCSU in the form of multiple large-scale OSCE's.
Research regarding medical students' teaching experiences in the SCSU showed that students felt the sessions improved their confidence and empowered them to perform the procedures taught in the clinical environment. They reported that they "could see what is right and how you are supposed to work". This statement reflects the ethos of the Simulation and Clinical Skills Unit. Students are taught “best-practice” guidelines, and continual reflection is encouraged.
The SCSU endeavours to participate in several educational research projects to further improve teaching, learning and assessment practices.
Images from the 5th Floor Skills lab