SILVER-Q continues to prepare the region's future health workforce

04 July 2023
Medical and nursing students debrief in a simulated hospital setting.
Nursing and medical students worked together in a simulated healthcare setting to build their communication and collaboration skills. 

CQUniversity and The University of Queensland Rural Clinical School (UQRCS) have once again delivered an important collaborative learning experience for nursing and medical students in the Wide Bay, known as SILVER-Q.

An acronym for Simulated Inter-professional Learning in a Vertically integrated Environment in Rural, Remote and Regional Queensland, SILVER-Q is an initiative developed and delivered by UQRCS with CQUniversity as an important local partner. 

Hosted at the CQUniversity Bundaberg campus nursing labs, the program involves nursing students from CQU and final year medical students from UQ working together in a fully simulated hospital environment.

Throughout the simulated experience, the nursing and medical students work side-by-side to support, diagnose and treat simulated real-life patients played by actors, who present with a range of symptoms or injuries including minor ailments, serious emergencies and chronic and acute disease. 

Each patient scenario is designed to give participants an insight into how each clinical role fits within a multi-disciplinary team as they interact and communicate with each other to treat a patient. 

Following each scenario, students debrief with each other and the clinical facilitators from each discipline to understand what actions worked well and what areas could be improved. 

CQUniversity Nursing lecturer, Katrina Lane-Krebs, said that the program helped students to further understand the importance of multi-disciplinary communication when it comes to patient care. 

“SILVER-Q is a very exciting program that involves of a series of collaborative scenarios aimed at achieving teamwork and better communication between disciplines in a controlled simulated hospital environment," Katrina said.

"Medical and nursing students typically don’t get to work and study alongside each other. Sometimes this will happen on placements, but it is generally something that they don’t truly experience until they are actually expected to take on the role when they have completed their degree and are working in a clinical setting.

"The collaboration between disciplines through SILVER-Q helps the students prepare and understand their own role, and how their unique experience and training fits within a multidisciplinary healthcare team.

"Communication is the leading learning objective of this exercise however the students are also able to practice skills that they have learned throughout their studies and clinical placements. 

"The students all felt that the program would be very beneficial for their ongoing learning and helping them to prepare for real-life practice." 

Ms Lane-Krebs also added that the latest program also brought together CQU nursing students from all levels and years.

“Traditionally this program was something offered to our final year students however we felt it was important to make it available to both new starters and those who are about to complete their degrees. The program was also made available to our Diploma of Nursing students," she said.

“We felt that this would provide a really beneficial learning experience for all students as our first years can learn a lot from our final year students and our final year students can also gain experience in helping to guide those starting out in the profession.

“CQUniversity is delighted to be able to partner with UQRCS to deliver this authentic learning experience because collaborative practice is essential to patient-centred care.

“It is also even more important now that both institutions will play a critical role in helping to build future workforces for the growing Wide Bay community.”

Medical and nursing students as well as supervisors attend to actors who are impersonating patients in a simulated hospital environment.