The Australian Learning and Teaching Council has awarded a $211,000 grant
The Australian Learning and Teaching Council has awarded a $211,000 grant to a Monash-led research project to improve nurses’ ability to manage patient health deterioration.
School of Nursing and Midwifery Associate Professor Simon Cooper said the management of hospitalised patients who experience physiological deterioration is a problem throughout the world.
“Sudden deterioration does not occur very often so nurses become deskilled at recognising that a patient’s heart rate is dropping or blood pressure is escalating, and then responding appropriately.”
Managing the decline in a patient’s condition could include monitoring the heart rate or blood pressure and taking action such as calling for help or administering oxygen or medication, for example.
Dr Cooper is leading the collaborative project between Monash University, Deakin University, the University of Queensland and Gippsland TAFE. His specialist expertise is in the area of patient deterioration.
He said managing a deteriorating patient was not that complex, but that in a stressful situation nurses can forget the essentials. “The best way to resolve this issue is to find ways for nurses to practice through simulations.”
Previous research grants have led to the development of FIRST2ACT, a simulation-based learning program for students and nurses.
Simulations are conducted in ward based settings with an actor playing the role of a deteriorating patient and the teacher managing the patient’s condition. Students are asked to act out the role of a nurse in each situation. The ‘patient’ will then either ‘survive’ or ‘deteriorate’ based on the students’ suggestions.
Dr Cooper said studies had demonstrated that simulation training did have a big impact on developing and maintaining nursing skills and patient care, however it was time consuming and resource intensive.
The latest grant will fund the next phase of the project, to develop FIRST2ACT into an online learning program so that it can be distributed widely and used by a larger number of student nurses in Australia and overseas.
The online version should be completed and ready for trial by June 2012.
The grant was awarded to Simon Cooper, Leigh Kinsman, Jo Porter, Lisa McKenna, Ruth Endacott, Robyn Cant, Brett DeVries (Monash University); Fiona Bogossian and Pauline Varghese (University of Queensland); Tracey Bucknall, Helen Forbes and Nikki Phillips (Deakin University); and Peter Whitley (GippsTAFE)