Griffith’s brand new birth suites at the Gold Coast campus are an exact mirror of facilities at Gold Coast University Hospital (GCUH), from the very latest equipment right down to the bedspread.

Professor Jenny Gamble

Head of Midwifery Professor Jenny Gamble says the simulated environment builds midwifery students’ confidence.

“The more familiar you are with the environment the less anxiety and concentration that takes,” she explained.

“Our suites feature exactly the same emergency equipment, for instance,neonatal resuscitation trolley, medication room set-up, the same placement of equipment and settings on the timber board behind the bed for oxygen, suction, emergency buzzers and the same layout of a birth room.

“Our facilities also include a control room where teaching leads can watch/record students operating in the simulated environment behind one-way glass and even change conditions or scenarios on the run to test would-be midwives, just as they would be tested in a real-life birth.

“It then offers the chance to debrief after scenarios, which also helps the learning process.”

Midwifery students use a neonatal resuscitation trolley,

Second year Midwifery student Nikki Collins says the simulations are excellent training opportunities.

“We did a simulation a few weeks ago of a post-partum haemorrhage and that was really valuable,” she said.

Gold Coast University Hospital was consulted in the fit-out of the new facilities, which cost around $800,000.

“We are very familiar with the set up at GCUH as academics are in the facility every weekday supporting ourstudent learning and conducting research,” said Professor Gamble.

“We also have two joint appointments with Gold Coast Health Service and oneof these positions is filled by Associate Professor Kathleen Baird who alsofulfils the role of Director of Education for Maternity, Newborn and Children’s Services at GCUH.”

Midwifery students with lecturer Carolyn Hastie, Program Director Dr Amanda Carter and Nursing and Midwifery Officer Priya Turner-Smith

Dr Amanda Carter said the newfacilities were already paying dividends.

“They allow students to practice skills, being both technical and behavioural (e.g. communication) in a ‘safe’ environment,” she explained.

“They can be provided with constructive feedback in a safe environment and thenwhen they are on placement they feel more competent and confident.

They can practice emergency protocols, as these rarely (but do) occur in real-life. The students can then have better recall ofthe drills or protocols when they do pop up.”

Students help ‘Simone’ birth her baby in water.

The facilities also provide access to high fidelity mother and baby mannequins which can be moved into a variety of positions and scenarios including a water birth.

Our mannequins can simulate a normal birth in any position, emergencies such as postpartum haemorrhage, shoulder dystocia (where there are problems birthing the shoulders), an eclampic fit, or a deteriorating woman,” said Dr Carter.

Simone (as we have named our simulated mother), can cough, vomit and make ‘birthing’ sounds. We can also talk through Simone to answer questions students ask of her.

“She breathes, has a pulse and has a blood pressure. We can change the pulse, BP and breathing and the students can simulate what they would do in this scenario. We can also change the baby’s heart rate.

Sam O’Connor M.P. and Professor Sheena Reilly officially launch the new facilities

The new facilities were officially opened by Pro Vice Chancellor Health Professor Sheena Reilly and Member for Bonney M.P. Sam O’Connor on 2 December 2019.

Griffith’s Nursing and Midwifery program was rated number one in the country and fourth globally in the 2019 Shanghai rankings.

The Bachelor of Midwifery recently celebrated its 10th anniversary.