Real-world learning at ViTA

First year Master of Occupational Therapy student Kim Carruthers with "patient" Nigel Pfitzner.
First year Master of Occupational Therapy student Kim Carruthers with “patient” Nigel Pfitzner.

A hospital bed, a “patient” and three video cameras recording your every move.

Flinders University’s Master of Occupation Therapy students could be forgiven for feeling any pre-exam jitters at their practical assessment on Wednesday (October 15) at ViTA – a new state-of-the-art aged care, teaching and research facility at the Repatriation General Hospital.

As part of the exam, 33 students enrolled in the two-year course were required to undertake a screening test for cognition using real actors as patients in a simulated hospital setting, with video cameras recording the scenario and examiners watching on from behind a two-way screen.

Flinders University Occupational Therapy Course Coordinator Dr Brenton Kortman said the newly-opened ViTA building, which is owned by the ACH Group, SA Health and Flinders University, offers cutting-edge technology that enables techniques to be practiced and assessed in way that simulates the practice environment.

“During the assessment the examiner sits behind a two-way mirror so the student has complete control over the situation, without the anxiety of an examiner hovering over them,” Dr Kortman said.

“In addition, cutting-edge technology installed in Flinders’ Clinical Teaching and Education Centre at ViTA enables the student’s performance to be video-recorded, with a grading checklist linked to video software, so the examiner can moderate and review the assessment,” he said.

“Through the use of actors, the students can also apply their skills in a simulated hospital or community setting but without the risks or potential problems of ‘practicing’ on a real patient.”

Dr Kortman said Flinders’ approach to real-world educational experiences through ViTA equips students with confidence and competence to deliver high-quality care in the community.

“Students can practice any tests they feel anxious about or have difficulty with, and they are also given the opportunity to review and self-evaluate their performance via the video recording, enabling them to fine-tune their skills and enhance their ability to be a reflective practitioner.”

For more information on Flinders University’s Master of Occupational Therapy, click here.

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