Student midwives at Queen's University Belfast are set to be the first in the UK to use an innovative birthing simulator in their training.
Known as Sono Sim, the machine has the appearance of a pregnant woman, with her internal organs visible so that students can see the impact of her pregnancy and birth on the rest of her body.
Sono Sim can also be linked to a scanning device that can present trainee midwives with various images of different situations that may arise during a pregnancy or labour that require treatment.
As a result, this provides students with a more hands-on, practical approach to learning than simply going over theories, giving them the opportunity to pick up more experience.
Scenarios trainees will be presented with will include foetal abnormalities on 20-week scan images, opportunities to date a birth from an early scan picture, complications during the birthing process itself and how to deal with a postpartum haemorrhage.
During the latter situation, students will also be presented with a mannequin baby to look after, making the simulator experience as true to real life as possible.
Queen's University is the first in the UK to have access to this kind of technology, meaning its students will get a much more thorough learning experience than simply shadowing a midwife. It will prepare them for what may come while they are dealing with expectant and new mothers in real-life situations.
Professor Donna Fitzsimons, head of the school of nursing and midwifery at the university, commented: "Queen's has been leading the way for over ten years in the development of Human Patient Simulation within healthcare.
"We are delighted to be the first university in the UK to introduce the new Sono Sim simulator, which will revolutionise the education of our midwifery students."
She added that learning from a "human-like mannequin that can laugh, cry and bleed creates a cutting-edge learning experience".
Written by James Puckle
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