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Learning Enhancement and Development

Session 3D - Paper 1

Bridging technology and simulation – use of empathy suits in the Technology Enabled Care Studio (TECs)

Janet Hunter – City, University of London, School of Health Sciences Nursing (encompassing Adult, Mental Health & Child Nursing and Biology)

Karen Rawlings-Anderson - City, University of London, School of Health Sciences Nursing (encompassing Adult, Mental Health & Child Nursing and Biology)

Doctor Lorna Rixon – City, University of London, School of Health Sciences, Health Services Research & Management (encompassing Public Health)

Doctor Shashivadan Hirani – City, University of London, School of Health Sciences, Health Services Research & Management (encompassing Public Health)

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Within the School of Health Sciences (SHS) there are a number of innovative projects that enhance the learning experience for students. Development of the TECs is a relatively new project and use of empathy suits was showcased at last year’s conference. This paper explores the challenges of bridging technology and simulation to develop an innovative learning experience for student nurses (adult).

Within SHS there are numerous innovative learning and teaching initiatives being developed. However, it is often the case that this work is carried out in isolation with limited collaboration across divisions and disciplines. In this project academics and researchers who have worked separately on developing the TECs and the use of empathy suits within simulated practice have worked in partnership to develop a project that bridges both domains. This paper will discuss the issues and challenges that needed to be addressed in order to undertake this project.

City TECs is a purpose built learning-hub, designed to simulate a studio flat, equipped with the latest telehealth, telecare, telemedicine, tele rehabilitation, mhealth equipment.  Providers and systems include, Philips & Tunstall. It is a simulation facility with live and recorded video streams utilised to train health and social care professionals in the use of technological devices and services to facilitate and maintain user behaviour change and support user self-management. TECs also serves as a research environment to conduct studies aimed at improving service user and care provider service provision via evidence based practice.

Empathy suits have been used within nursing education at City for two years. Old age and bariatric simulation suits have been used to help mental health and adult nursing students enhance their understanding and appreciation of some of the physical, psychological and emotional difficulties that these patient groups may face.

The current project aims to bring together use of the TECs and the empathy suits to simulate community nurses visiting both groups of patients in the community. Students not actively taking part in the simulation have the opportunity to observe the interactions via live streaming of the activity. They then offer constructive feedback during debrief, which occurs after the simulation.

Sections of the video recordings are played to stimulate discussion.

What will I gain from attending the session:

The session will be of interest to any discipline interested in the use of technology and simulation in education.

You will have the opportunity to:

  • Gain an insight into the challenges and benefits of cross-disciplinary collaboration in an educational project
  • Discuss the benefits and challenges of using technology within simulation.
  • Explore how to engage students who are not taking an active part in the simulation.
  • Consider how this method of using technology might be used or adapted to your discipline.


Brewster L, Mountain G, Wessels B, Kelly C & Hawley M. Factors affecting frontline staff acceptance of telehealth technologies: a mixed-method systematic review. Journal of Advanced Nursing 70(1), 21–33. doi:10.1111/jan.12196

Hamilton, M (2015) How I aged 30 years in just 30 minutes. The Hunts Post 15 April 2015.

NHS England (2015). Technology Enabled Care Services: Resource for Commissioners. https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/TECS_FinalDraft_0901.pdf

Tremayne, P, Burdett, J and Utecht, C (2011) Simulation suit aids tailored care. Nursing Older People 23(7):19-22