Data analytics and nursing may seem like unlikely bedfellows, but a new data-driven collaboration between the UTS Faculty of Health and the Connected Intelligence Centre (CIC) has the potential to transform nursing education and practice.
Faculty of Health
Led by Dr Roberto Martinez-Maldonado (CIC) and Dr Tamara Power (Faculty of Health), the project uses a range of sensing and tracking technologies to follow UTS nursing students as they perform clinical tasks in the faculty’s simulation labs.
Using depth sensors, proximity and mobility trackers, accelerometer stickers and microphone arrays positioned on both the students and their equipment, the researchers can record where students are positioned around the bedside, their movements around the clinical space, and which instruments they use to treat the patient.
“For example, in a short CPR scenario, students are given delegated roles, and there will be specific places they should be at the bedside at specific times. Some of the things we’ve started looking at are response time and how long it takes the students to organise themselves into these positions,” says Power.
In this scenario, one student should move quickly towards the head of the bed, and from there should take a leadership role over the scenario. Another student should start chest compressions, and a third should move quickly to get the defibrillator.
Combined with information from the simulation manikins, which can record how effective the students are in delivering various interventions, such as chest compressions, the data can provide a real-time picture of how the simulation unfolded, what went well, and where students need to improve in the future.
“The overarching goal is to provide tools for nursing students to reflect more effectively on their practice, based on evidence of what happened during the simulations,” Martinez-Maldonado says.
“The simulations allow students to make mistakes in a safe environment. We’re trying to enhance the visibility of those mistakes, of those processes, to enable better debrief and reflection.”
The use of these tracking and monitoring technologies in a nursing education context is still very much in its infancy – and the novelty of the project has already captured the attention of a major Sydney hospital. Nurses continue with simulation training throughout their careers, making simulation data a valuable commodity in a range of professional nursing environments.
“I think this work would be very useful for nurses once they’ve finished their training. You could get some really interesting data around mapping people’s movements around the wards, and looking at workforce issues,” Power says.
Photographer: Ansh Bose