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Middlesex: first university in the UK to invest in augmented reality midwifery equipment

24/09/2018
MDX students delight in augmented reality midwifery, neonatal and anatomy equipment which will transform teaching and is as close to the real thing as it gets

Three third year midwifery students were the first to try out new augmented reality equipment at the opening of Middlesex University’s state-of-the-art four-bed simulation ward. Keely Acton-Bloom, Imane Amazdoy Dailal and Mahufuja Aktar were blown away by how close to reality the equipment is.

Keely said: “We are so excited and it’s going to real help prepare us for placements and for work once we qualify. It’s going to be a great advantage for first year students as they will have more exposure to what it’s like on a real hospital ward.

“This equipment will make me more prepared for emergency childbirth situations like breech and shoulder dystocia. I saw one emergency childbirth but this equipment will help me experience these scenarios more regularly.”

The virtual pregnant mother is capable of simulating normal delivery and emergency scenarios and is manufactured by CAE Healthcare.

One of Middlesex’s midwifery educators, Sarah Chitongo, who is carrying out her Doctorate in simulation and high dependency units, described the usefulness of the equipment to prepare students to handle a scenario of shoulder dystocia – this is when the baby’s shoulder becomes stuck inside the pelvis once the head has emerged.

“Shoulder dystocia is one of the main birthing emergencies and can lead to poor health outcomes for babies or even neonatal death," she said. "Midwives only have three minutes to act once they realise a shoulder has become trapped. If we can better prepare tomorrow’s midwives for these situations fewer emergencies will occur.”

Sarah was the force behind Middlesex University making the decision to invest in the augmented reality equipment while Jan Williams, the Dean of Health and Education, was vital in facilitating the building of the simulation ward.  James Kennedy, the University’s Chief Financial Officer, who approved funding for the project was at the opening and said there was no doubt in his mind that it was money well spent. “It’s just fantastic. The confidence our students will gain from using this equipment would usually only come from years of experience of being a midwife.”

“Middlesex is at the top of the game when it comes to using augmented reality. Our students will qualify as ready as they can be to work as nurses and midwives. This technology is as close as can be to real life.”
Fiona Suthers, Head of the Clinical Skills Department and Midwifery, Middlesex University

The midwifery students couldn't believe how life-like the animatronic baby mannequin was and were encouraged to take its pulse and listen to its heart. The mannequin can help students examine new born babies and be aware of what potential problems to look for.

Mahufuja said: “This is going to really help with neonatal emergencies and new born and infant physical examinations. We are going to feel so much more prepared.”

Fiona Suthers, Head of the Clinical Skills Department and Midwifery added: “Middlesex is at the top of the game when it comes to using augmented reality. Our students will qualify as ready as they can be to work as nurses and midwives. This technology is as close as can be to real life.”

As well as life-like models of a birthing mother and a baby, another bed in the teaching ward is occupied with a torso which seen through 3D enables students to better understand ultrasound scans and human anatomy. Other technology, such as digital patient notes, is present to make sure the ward emulates a real hospital environment.

Dr Sinead Mehigan, Head of Department, Adult, Child and Midwifery said, "We know that new standards of nursing and standards that will come in for midwifery, they are challenging. We have the beginnings of an amazing facility. So I would say from this day on we use it, we use it well and we demonstrate that it does make a difference".

Find out more about training to become a nurse or midwife at Middlesex.

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