Simulations in tertiary education using child performers are relatively rare and research in the field is similarly scarce despite children’s unique needs when accessing the health services. (Australian College of Children and Young Peoples Nurses, 2015, p.2). This ‘work in progress’ project builds on research already being undertaken at the USC in high fidelity simulation and extends its scope through the introduction of child performers as simulated patients. Simulations or ‘hypothetical interactive scenarios’ (Makeham, 2012, p.1) provide learners with life-like experiences that are designed to prepare them for similar situations in their working lives. One of the key benefits of using live performers over mannequins or digital simulation is that they afford unique opportunities for the development of student’s ‘soft skills’ including communication competency and critical thinking. According to Clapper (2010, p. 39) the physical and emotional engagement generated in these life-like learning experiences are key in creating lasting understanding for students. At the heart of the study are two cycles of practice (McNiff, 2006, p.9) in which USC student nurses engage in simulations centred on the child client. Simulations have been developed, trialled and evaluated with a dual focus: first, effective training and employment of child actors in health simulation scenarios and second the potential for these simulations to enhance tertiary student learning. The ontological approach of this study is based in Donald Schön’s (1973) ‘learning society’ which emphasises the need for processes that facilitate changes in work practices capable of being applied to future instances and made available to practitioners for future application. One of the key outcomes therefore will be a policy document and training manual thattogether provide a practical exemplar for wider application to support universities in creating environments that optimise learning outcomes.
2016 Learning & Teaching Week: 2020 Teaching Visions. 2020 - What's Next?, Sunshine Coast, Australia 31 October - 4 November 2016