Simulation tech for health courses at Aston University

Aston University in Birmingham has received a funding boost to expand the digital and simulation tech available for healthcare students. 

A £4.8m grant from the Office for Students, an independent higher education regulator, will go towards the university’s ‘state-of-the-art healthcare simulation and laboratory facilities’ that were opened this month. 

University Vice-Chancellor Professor Aleks Subic, said: ‘This strategic investment will ensure that our students are learning in the very best facilities with access to state-of-the-art digital technologies. 

‘The new facilities will enable us to prepare students fully for future careers that are strategically important to the healthcare sector and society.’ 

New equipment will include augmented reality simulation technology in the optometry simulation suite, meaning students can learn from simulated patients showcasing a number of eye conditions, allowing them to have a better understanding of how to treat patients. 

Alongside enhancing the existing facilities, the new grant will be used to fund a simulated hospital ward and patient home environment for healthcare courses. A new wet lab and asepsis suite will also be built for Pharmacy students. 

Deputy Dean of the College of Health and Life Sciences, Professor Liz Moores, said: ‘The College of Health and Life Sciences is thrilled with this investment. The enhanced facilities will help to support many of our healthcare students, including those now applying for our new nursing degree. 

‘It will also support us with the introduction of the new pharmacy and optometry education standards, providing a step change in our ability to simulate a wide range of clinical scenarios.’

Head of the School of Optometry and Audiology, Professor James Wolffsohn, added: ‘With the huge hospital waiting lists, particularly post-COVID, with those in ophthalmology being the highest, it is essential that primary care can take more of the patient load to allow hospitals to focus on surgery and complex cases.

‘This investment will allow us to better train our optometry and audiology students to be able to triage patients and to manage more conditions within community practice.’

This investment follows a trend of using digital solutions and virtual/augmented reality technology to enhance the offerings of healthcare courses around the country. 

Edinburgh College recently won an award for its use of VR technology to allow students to understand what it’s like to live with dementia.

Photo by Aston University


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