On-line role play for mental health nursing


When did you first introduce the innovation?

Less than 12 months ago

Please describe the innovation you have developed

I have developed an activity that utilises simple discussion boards and chat facilities within Moodle that replicates the experience of managing a service user with complex needs. The students are allocated to a variety of professional roles. The students manage the case over a period of time on-line, gathering information, liaising with colleagues, communicating with the service user and then then formulate this into a management plan. The students then attend a case review meeting held in the class-room where the different professional perspectives are given on the case and a plan of action for the service user is formulated.

What prompted you to develop this innovation?

Simulation of realistic experiences for mental health nursing students is extremely challenging. It is limited by ethical dilemmas and many of the traditional simulation tools used in nursing such as mannequins are not appropriate to teach the skills needed by a mental health nurse. The only alternative is to use actors which is high cost.

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

This innovation uses existing technologies that are simple to use and are familiar to staff and students. It enables them to become fully immersed in a complex case and experience the responsibilities they will encounter as a registered practitioner. At the same time they gain experience of managing a case that presents no risk to themselves or a service user.

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

This work has built upon an approach that has been developed for teacher training but this is new to the practice of mental health. It uses simple discussion boards, chat and email.

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

This innovation has now been incorporated into the BSc Mental Health nursing programme where it contributes to their simulated practice hours.

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

A full evaluation was undertaken of the innovation. The feedback was generally positive from students. They were clearly able to feel that they had experienced taking on the role of a professional managing a complex case, it gave them different perspectives on inter-professional working and the key outcome was that they developed their professional communication skills. There were some initial timing and technical problems that have now been resolved which will improve the experience of forthcoming students undertaking the activity.

The innovation was awarded a silver award at City University’s health has got talent awards.

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

The innovation is due to be presented at the NET conference in September 2015.

The project has been written up and has been accepted for publication in the Journal for Mental Health Education, Training and Practice.