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Practical workshop provides first-hand experience to future health care professionals

Real-world experiences are part of many tertiary degree study programs, however for Lily Blackaby (pictured) a practical simulation workshop held as part of her first-year studies, proved to be invaluable. 

“I was on placement at a local hospital when a patient presented who was hearing voices. They were quite distressed, and couldn’t concentrate or hold a conversation,” the Bachelor of Nursing student said.

“In trying to provide care for the patient, I drew on the knowledge I had gained from the practical workshop on hearing voices we had participated.”  

“The real-world simulation of the workshop, which provided experiences of how someone who has auditory hallucinations goes about their daily lives, was invaluable.”

“It was through participating in the simulation workshop that I gained a deeper understanding and knowledge, which for me made such a difference in trying to assist and provide care for the patient.”

The hearing voices workshop is part of the new Bachelor of Nursing study program, providing first-hand experience to future health care professionals on the challenges faced by people who experience auditory hallucinations.

The workshop involves students wearing headphones, listening to a recording of simulated auditory hallucinations while performing a series of tasks including working on puzzles and participating in an interview. 

The simulation was both confronting and eye-opening for Lily.

“The workshop really opened my eyes as to what people go through every day,” she said.

“It helped to provide a completely different perspective on learning, where we really experienced how a patient copes with a mental health illness.”

Dr Russell James from the University’s School of Nursing in the College of Health and Medicine said this was the first time the School had held the program, which was introduced by a colleague, Dr Denise McGarry, a nursing teaching-intensive academic.

“This style of training is associated with changes in thinking and attitude,” Russell said.

“Some of the workshop participants reported the experience as confronting and identified that the experience deepened their understanding and appreciation of how individuals cope with hearing voices and, develop a new frame of reference for clinical practice.”

Published on: 22 Feb 2022 12:02pm