CDU leads innovation in new technologies for nursing teaching 


Charles Darwin University (CDU) is embracing cutting edge teaching technologies to better service its students and stakeholders.

The university is investing in developing new technologies and tools to create flexible pathways to learning for students.

From Semester 2 this year, CDU Bachelor of Nursing students will have an opportunity to test their knowledge and practise their skills in a simulated hospital environment.

The CDU vHospital is the world’s first online teaching hospital with a focus on Indigenous Australian health, allowing students to assess and admit patients and to make informed decisions about their care in a realistic setting.

The vHospital has been developed in collaboration with CDU academic staff and practising health care professionals from the Department of Health and Community Services.

Teaching is based on a case study format, with students experiencing the entire patient journey via video, audio, text and animation.

Access to various hospital departments is determined by which year students are enrolled in and also by the knowledge level they have. They can navigate around the departments and by completing tasks they follow a patient’s hospital journey from admission through to recovery and discharge.

Lecturers can monitor students’ learning progress and skill level in a practice setting and users can control the speed of their learning, and can practise and revise their decision-making skills on simulated patients before they get into a real hospital environment.

And when students are ready to go on clinical placement, CDU’s newest innovation, a placement management system will help them to arrange the placement.

The new system, called SPM, takes account of students’ practicum needs and allows them to get the maximum benefit from available clinical learning opportunities by managing the flow and allocation of clinical placements.

SPM’s designer and Executive Officer of CDU’s Faculty of Education, Health and Science, Roni Roberts said the tool has streamlined the placement process and improved the students’ ability to register preferences and the ability of CDU to match those preferences.

Many Australian universities still use a spreadsheet system to manage their nursing placements.

“The spreadsheet system was difficult to manage, unwieldy, and ultimately frustrating for students, staff and health care services,” Mr Roberts said.

“This new system can be applied anywhere, and with some minor adjustments, could be used by any university to manage student placements and make the kind of improvements we have made,” he said.