The Clinical Communication Team at the University of Birmingham are undertaking an ambitious project where students across all healthcare programmes will interact within a single virtual healthcare community – ‘Wood Brooke’ – via simulation activities. The vertical nature of the programme means students can ‘follow’ the illness/life journeys of a series of families that they meet early in the course over a 3–4 year timeframe. Additionally, they can meet and interact with simulated healthcare professionals working in Wood Brooke’s virtual primary, community, and secondary care facilities. Wood Brooke is already well-established throughout our 4-year Pharmacy degree, being integrated into teaching and testing not just for communication, but linked to other clinical aspects of the Programme. We will share our model, and experiences, successes, and challenges.
Recently Wood Brooke was adapted for Birmingham’s 3-year BNurs programme as a vertically integrated clinical communication/professionalisation strand. It is well documented that nursing students should be trained in patient-centred communication . Students from Adult, Child, and Mental Health Nursing mix in the sessions for intra-professional learning and breadth of peer support and feedback. Sessions in Year 1 focus on cases relating to three families from Wood Brooke from patient and relative/carer perspectives. Year 2 builds on the simulation to consider intra and interprofessional colleague interactions in community-based and acute settings through telephone and face to face role play simulation. This builds on the 3 family cases introduced in the first year, introducing other members within the family. Year 3 is under development.
Feedback from learners about the Programme has been positive. This is not a research project so we will not be presenting ‘data’. A result in progress is rolling Wood Brooke out to other Programmes, including Medicine and Dentistry, as part of curriculum review. Discussion may focus on the potential benefits of healthcare students having shared visibility of patient narratives/experiences where that patient is accessing care under more than one service.
Inclusivity and designing a ‘community’ reflective of the population has been central. The vertical development of patient narratives over several years enables adaption of the programme to meet new priorities and needs (including, e.g., shift to remote working for COVID-19, and evolving patient demographics).
1. Gutiérrez-Puertas L, Márquez-Hernández VV, Gutiérrez-Puertas V, Granados-Gámez G, Aguilera-Manrique G. Educational interventions for nursing students to develop communication skills with patients: a systematic review. International journal of environmental research and public health. 2020;17(7):2241.