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£750,000 upgrade for interactive teaching facility

30th August 2017

A fully interactive teaching facility at Northumbria University is getting a £750,000 make over which will see the facility become one of the biggest and best in the country.

Established 15 years ago, the Clinical Skills Centre at the University is used to teach a range of healthcare professionals; it has been at the forefront in the advances of simulation-based education as a learning and teaching methodology. Providing realistic safe learning environments for students to practice their skills, it plays a pivotal role in their education and training and offers, through simulated learning, an invaluable experience of “real life” healthcare situations. As such it is used extensively in our programmes for undergraduate/pre-registration students, as well as for postgraduate/post qualified medical, health and social care professionals as part of their continuing professional development.

The £750,000 investment during the summer of 2017 will increase the centre’s capacity and capability to deliver high quality simulation-based education through the establishment of an extensive range of flexible learning and teaching spaces. These include:


  • Four flexible simulation suites each with their own control room and observation capability.
  • A dedicated simulation suite comprising an anaesthetic room, operating theatre, recovery room, observation and control room.
  • Four simulated environments, including a ward and home setting.
  • An Immersive Interactive™ flexible learning space where images and video can be projected onto three walls to enhance realism and give a fully immersive, multi-sensory and interactive learning environment. The space incorporates a control room and observational area.
  • Six flexible learning and teaching spaces that can flex from a classroom or observation room to a skills laboratory or a simulation environment.
  • A dedicated learner zone that provides students open access to a learning space where they can practice and develop their skills prior to their exams; enhancing the student experience.
  • A large lecture theatre
  • Reception areas

The work – which has taken place over the past 12 months - also complements the current extensive range of task trainers and patient simulators with an array of new, state of the art technologies and equipment. These include a centre wide telecommunication system, a full HD audio-visual system, SMOTs™, with a series of fixed and mobile cameras, a succession of interactive monitor displays, and virtual reality headsets.

Dr Alison Machin, Associate Professor in Nursing, Midwifery and Health at Northumbria University said: “Northumbria boasts one of the most advanced skills environments for teaching and learning nationally and this additional investment will ensure we continue to be at the cutting edge in simulation learning.

“The Centre’s ability to run three fully immersive virtual reality training environments simultaneously is unique in the North East and one of only a handful across the UK. Thanks to this investment, our students and professionals will receive the most realistic training environment possible bar none.”

The building work will be completed by the end of August. 

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