A model of healthcare training

The University of Portsmouth today opened a £4.85m high-tech teaching facility with computerised mannequins to train future health science professionals.



The new facility, called the ExPERT Centre (Centre of Excellence in Teaching and Learning), features state of the art mannequins in two fully-kitted out suites simulating an operating theatre and a hospital ward.



The life-like mannequins, or ‘human patient simulators’, have computerised sensors that react to any treatment students apply.



‘You can hear their heartbeat and the sounds from their lungs and bowel,’ the ExPERT Centre’s director Professor Lesley Reynolds said.



‘They breathe oxygen, drool, secrete fluids, blink, bleed and even react to drugs injected into their bodies – they are as real as can be.’



The facility will be used by students in the biomedical sciences, psychology, radiography, social work, and professions allied to medicine and dentistry.



The mannequins independently respond to treatment. If the students provide the right treatment, the mannequin improves; if they provide the wrong treatment, the patient’s condition worsens and they could ‘die’.



Everything happening inside the simulation suites is recorded with static and pan-and-tilt high-resolution cameras as well as discretely placed microphones. The recording is controlled in a one-way mirror shielded room overlooking the suites.



Any activity in the suites can be streamed back to the centre’s techno-modern inspired teaching space so students and instructors can watch and critically appraise performances in real-time.