Johanna Rhodes, Head of School of Nursing (SoN) at Southern Institute of Technology | Te Pūkenga was recently in Italy to share experiences and knowledge on her specialist topics with around 800 clinical skills educators and researchers from around the world.
Ms Rhodes attended the Ninth International Clinical Skills Conference, held 21-24 May, at Monash University’s Prato campus, in Tuscany, Italy, to present, and learn from keynote speakers, oral presentations and workshops on all aspects of clinical skills education and research.
Encouraged by her PhD supervisors, Ms Rhodes submitted five abstracts to the conference, two of which were collaborative research with colleagues in Australia and the USA. The abstracts were peer reviewed and all five were accepted, allowing Ms Rhodes to attend the conference with funding support from SIT | Te Pūkenga. “I’m extremely grateful, it enabled me to attend and present my research,” Ms Rhodes said. As the sole representative from Te Pūkenga she felt “very proud to be from New Zealand.”
Ms Rhodes presented: Escape Rooms – a workshop promoting learning through teamwork, collaboration, and critical thinking. This offered learning activities participants could potentially use in their own development of escape rooms; solving puzzles and completing activities collaboratively in groups, to ‘escape’ before a set time limit is reached.
Splitting self – the oral presentation covered Ms Rhodes’ PhD thesis; research which questions how healthcare educators are impacted by assuming simulated patient roles.
Pause, Consider, and Decide: outlines a method of achieving increased opportunities for diversity and inclusion in clinical simulation with large student groups. The audience-led simulation is based on ‘choose your own adventure’ books (also known as ‘pick a path’ books), where they decide the clinical skills and interventions used.
Mask-EdTM Simulation: During Covid lockdowns and closed borders, four researchers collaborated to create Mask-Ed resources to assist with classroom and online learning in NZ, Australia, and the USA. Mask-Ed utilises highly realistic silicone props - including torsos, faces and hands - which the nurse educator wears to transform into 'the patient'. The newly created patient has a back story which enables the nurse educator to become a platform for teaching, to coach students through the clinical experience. Ms Rhodes appeared as her Mask-Ed character ‘Polly’ for the presentation, noting “...I think because she was there in person, this prompted additional questions about Mask-Ed.”
All the presentations generated multiple enquiries with expected outcomes of further research and/or collaboration. Ms Rhodes said she was “very humbled” by the positive feedback she received, including a number of the Splitting Self audience connecting with her afterwards to share their experiences. “They thanked me for doing this study to potentially offer some change to the limited support educators receive in this area.”
Ms Rhodes said a stand-out of the conference was the tool for gathering feedback from a simulated patient as part of OSCES assessments (Objective Structured Clinical Examinations) which measure student clinical performance. “It is likely that SIT will implement this from 2024,” she added.
There were further discussions on the worldwide impact of Covid on Healthcare, and acknowledging that the sector was understaffed prior to Covid, there are multiple research opportunities in this area. Ms Rhodes described the research carried out in Australia on the impact of aged care staffing shortages as “heartbreaking”. She said NZ will be involved in the proposed wider study following the results from the Australian study.
The conference also underscored the importance of interprofessional education (involving healthcare professionals with expertise in different fields) and better understanding roles, rather than assuming this is known and expecting people to “simply” work together. “While this concept is not new, it remains impacting and requires further exploration and solutions,” Ms Rhodes added.
Ms Rhodes noted the Prato conference is a significant event in healthcare education and deserved consideration for presenting in 2025. “The conference offered an opportunity to present research to an audience with major influence on clinical skills education internationally,” she said. Details have been distributed to SIT colleagues in SoN, Massage, Social Services, and Sport and Exercise. “It would be amazing to see the schools come together in collaboration and share this at the 2025 conference,” Ms Rhodes concluded.