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'Fine tuning' aged care skills

A hospital bed, a 'patient' and three video cameras recording your every move. South Australia's Flinders University's Master of Occupation Therapy students could be forgiven for feeling any pre exam jitters at their recent practical assessment at ViTA – a new state of the art aged care, teaching and research facility at the Repatriation General Hospital.
First year Master of Occupational Therapy student, Kim Carruthers, with 'patient' actor, Nigel Pfitzner.
First year Master of Occupational Therapy student, Kim Carruthers, with 'patient' actor, Nigel Pfitzner.

As part of the exam, 33 students enrolled in the two year course were required to undertake a screening test for cognition using real actors as patients in a simulated hospital setting, with video cameras recording the scenario and examiners watching on from behind a two way screen.

Dr Brenton Kortman, Flinders University occupational therapy course coordinator, says the newly opened ViTA building, which is owned by South Australian aged care provider ACH Group, SA Health and Flinders University, offers cutting edge technology that enables techniques to be practiced and assessed in way that simulates the practice environment.

“During the assessment the examiner sits behind a two way mirror so the student has complete control over the situation, without the anxiety of an examiner hovering over them,” Dr Kortman says.

“In addition, cutting edge technology installed in Flinders’ Clinical Teaching and Education Centre at ViTA enables the student’s performance to be video recorded, with a grading checklist linked to video software, so the examiner can moderate and review the assessment,” he says.

“Through the use of actors, the students can also apply their skills in a simulated hospital or community setting but without the risks or potential problems of ‘practicing’ on a real patient.”

Dr Kortman says Flinders’ approach to real world educational experiences through ViTA equips students with confidence and competence to deliver high quality care in the community.

“Students can practice any tests they feel anxious about or have difficulty with, and they are also given the opportunity to review and self evaluate their performance via the video recording, enabling them to fine tune their skills and enhance their ability to be a reflective practitioner.”

Find out more about ViTA.

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