A Coventry academic’s innovative use of simulation in higher education has awarded her a prestigious National Teaching Fellowship.
Dr Natasha Taylor from Coventry University’s School of nursing, midwifery, and health has spearheaded simulation development to create realistic learning scenarios for students at Coventry University.
This Fellowship recognises a 30-plus-year career, specifically in healthcare education.
It acknowledges Natasha’s significant work to increase accessibility, which has seen her create and innovate on several simulation projects, including the university’s development of virtually simulated nursing placements, helping to train medical staff worldwide.
These placements, which allow learners to experience different healthcare scenarios through digital and virtual technology, have been tailored for health services, not only in the UK but also in places such as Uganda and Indonesia.
During the pandemic, this technology was used to help healthcare students prepare for a career in health systems (including critical care networks), whose placements had been cut short by Covid.
Natasha said: ‘There’s evidence to show that students get so much more out of a learning experience when they are fully immersed in a situation. I believe this non-traditional approach offers enormous benefits. We work to make our simulations as realistic as possible, but they are designed to be accessed over various devices; you don’t need the latest VR headset or technology to experience them. This is crucial to enabling as many people as possible to participate.’
Coventry University is home to the UK’s first standalone 5G network, and Natasha has played a leading role in using 5G to improve the student experience. She was an expert speaker at Coventry University’s TEDx event on healthcare simulation.
However, this award isn’t just for technological advancements; before the pandemic, Natasha created CovSim, large, cross-university, face-to-face simulation events to which all enrolled Coventry University students were invited.
Although there was a brief hiatus due to Covid, these are expected to start again very soon.
National Teaching Fellowships celebrate and recognise individuals who have made an outstanding impact on student outcomes and the teaching profession in higher education.
They are awarded by Advance HE, a member-led, sector-owned charity that works with institutions and higher education worldwide to improve higher education for staff, students and society.
Natasha added: ‘It is an honour to be recognised for my work and be awarded a National Teaching Fellowship. Without the vision and foresight of Coventry University, I would not have been able to achieve this, and I’d like to thank my simulation team colleagues, my school colleagues and Martin Jenkins, Coventry University’s head of academic development (who supported this application).’