ACORN (A Community Orientated Resource for Nursing) primary care simulation suite


When did you first introduce the innovation?

Between 12 and 24 months ago

Please describe the innovation you have developed

The importance of teaching the technical skills is recognised as being necessary for student nurses to practice effectively. However clinical skills teaching goes beyond the technical ability of the student and challenges at a deeper level, the cognitive and non-technical skills of team working and communication .

Within nurse education, acute simulation is a well-recognised teaching and learning methodology. However, to date Primary Care simulation in nurse education is a relatively under researched area.

With the increasing shift of care from acute hospitals to the community setting, UWS staff have developed ACORN (A Community Orientated Resource for Nursing) Primary Care simulation suite.

This bespoke and innovative facility provides pre and post registration nursing and midwifery students the opportunity to experience, through simulation, the importance of delivering safe, timely and quality care within the primary care environment to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions.

ACORN Primary Care suite features 4 distinct areas: the DOMUS home care environment; Health Centre Reception area; GP/ Specialist Nurse consulting room and Treatment room.

Scenarios are built using tablet technology and run simultaneously and in ‘real time’ which enables the students to take on the roles of the entire Primary Care team. The Primary Care simulation experience enables the opportunity for students to practise technical and non-technical skills within a safe and supported learning environment.

This dynamic new development operates alongside the existing acute simulation technologies to provide a unique learning resource for students to simulate the complete patient journey.

Future plans to incorporate an ‘out of hours’ telehealth / telecommunication pod in collaboration with NHS24 colleagues will further enhance the students learning experience and help prepare them for ‘graduateness’.

What prompted you to develop this innovation?

Attendance at a conference prompted the development.

Anaesthetists were using a similar system to develop medical staff in anaesthetics. The idea of tablet technology in primary care seemed manageable, contemporary and innovative. Primary care simulation as stated above is under developed in most HEIs – this initiative compliments the existing acute simulation technology we have in the school of HNM.

In your view, what is it about this innovation that makes it different/important?

The simulation is dynamic, runs in real time, using original scenarios developed by students and staff who have experiences working in primary care. It utilises all aspects of primary care (GP, District Nurse, Treatment Room Nurse, Pharmacist, with plans to include telecommunication pod).

To what extent does your innovation make use of existing approaches, resources or technologies?

Using a store room space, we developed plans to develop a GP room and a Treatment room. The Reception space utilises the open area space and is clearly identifiable as a learning space for students.

The approach we use is reflection/simulation and debriefing.

Scenarios are developed using a standard template and are uploaded onto tablet technology. This is supported by links to blood results, XRay results, video clips, guidelines etc.

To what degree has this innovation led to changes in education or clinical practice?

HOS fully embraced the concept of ACORN and it is now integrated as an established area for learning within all university sites. Original scenarios have been shared with staff on all sites. ACORN is being used in pre- and post-registration programmes (Midwifery and MH)

Positive evaluation of ACORN has resulted in full investment by the HOS and integration across all UWS campuses.

What evidence do you have of the impact of the innovation?

Evaluation by students and feedback from staff and external partners.

Commendation from Ros Moore, formerly CNO Scotland.

Commendation by UWS Senate.

To what degree has the innovation been disseminated in your organisation or elsewhere?

Positive evaluation of ACORN has resulted in full investment by the HOS and now fully integrated across all UWS sites

January 2015: Nursing Standard (66 January 21: vol 29 no 21: 2015)
Title: Acting out scenarios
Authors: Caroline Adam and Winifred McGarry

September 2014: NET2014 Conference, University of Cambridge, UK.
Theme: Educational innovation and enhancement
Title: ACORN (A Community Orientated Resource for Nursing); Primary Care Simulation Environment.
Authors: Caroline Adam and Winifred McGarry

April 2015: Scottish Clinical Skills Network (SCSN)
Title: ACORN (A Community Orientated Resource for Nursing) Primary Care simulation suite for pre and post registration nursing and midwifery students’
Authors: Winifred McGarry and Caroline Adam

May 2015: Sixth International Clinical Skills Conference, University of Monash, Prato Italy
Title: ‘ACORN – A Community Orientated Resource for Nursing: a bespoke primary care simulation suite
Authors: Caroline Adam and Winifred McGarry

Please provide details of any plans you have to disseminate the innovation in the future.

Further publication and development within the school and clinical external partners.