Govt launches $5m robotic labs at UTS

The training facility will enable nursing and midwifery students to train on robotic simulation mannequins

The Federal Government has launched a $5 million facility at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) for nurses and midwives to train with robot patients.

The nine new labs will include both adult and infant simulation mannequins to provide students with the clinical experience needed to work in the industry.

Health minister, Tanya Plibersek, said in a statement that the new facility was an investment in the future of Australian healthcare, and is to address the needs for more clinical training for nurses.

The labs were funded using a combination of $2.4 million from the Federal Government and $2.6 million from UTS.

According to Plibersek, the robotic simulation mannequins have realistic human features such as rising and falling chests, and heart and lung functions which characterise a number of possible health conditions.

“To provide students with a life-like experience, the robots display symptoms such as pain and, with the help of a technician, appear to speak, explaining their health condition as would a real patient,” Plibersek said in a statement.

UTS vice chancellor, Ross Milbourne, said the university’s faculty of nursing, midwifery and health would have around 900 students accessing the new labs each year.

“Having nine clinical labs allows us to run all nursing and midwifery professional subject classes in realistic clinical settings,” Milbourne said in a statement.

“The use of practice-based learning including health simulation technology to better prepare our undergraduate nurses recognises the complexity and challenges that nurses face each day in hospitals and clinical practice around the country.”

The labs also have bays that house the computer-controlled simulation patients as well as audio-visual tools for recording and playback the simulated scenarios for later debriefing and self-assessment.

The university announced it was searching for a CIO in January as part of a $1 billion upgrade to the university.

Candidates have now been shortlisted with the university expecting to make a decision by the end of April.

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