Medical students prepare to enter new hi-tech era

The next generation of doctors, nurses and dentists will train in new world-class facilities officially opened in Yorkshire yesterday.

Thousands of students will benefit from the £3.5m refurbishment of the medical school at Sheffield University.

The school, which dates its origins as far back as 1828, was officially unveiled yesterday by Sir John Savill, chief executive of the Medical Research Council, and the Lord Mayor of Sheffield Coun John Campbell.

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The state-of-the-art transformation has seen the creation of an open-plan social learning hub, installation of extensive state-of-the-art technology and a new health sciences library.

Prof Sir Keith Burnett, vice-chancellor of the university, described the facilities as “world class” and the highest quality of any in the UK.

“We have also seen a dramatic increase in applications to study medicine at Sheffield which are very much linked to the fact that we now have a quality environment which matches the excellent work which is carried out to create the skilled, caring doctors and health professionals who have such an important role to play,” he said.

More than 2,500 students study within the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health each year on over 40 different courses.

Budding doctors will be given an insight into life on the ward at the new clinical skills centre in Samuel Fox House at the Northern General Hospital.

The centre has hospital wards, an intensive care centre and resuscitation rooms.

All clinical areas are linked by a web-based audio visual system which will allow students to be observed and recorded as they undertake clinical tasks as well as being given instant feedback.

Pro-vice chancellor for the faculty, Prof Tony Weetman said: “All the evidence shows that training in an environment like the new clinical skills centre increases students’ confidence and helps them feel prepared for real-life clinical practice.

“This in turn means that safety is greatly improved and ultimately patients benefit.

“I am delighted we have been able to provide our students with the best possible facilities for their education.”

Current student and Medical Society president Ben Holden said: “Those of us studying here feel incredibly privileged to be able to use the new facilities and equipment at both sites.

“The refurbishment hasn’t just provided a more aesthetically pleasing environment but has opened up countless new opportunities for the learning of medicine in Sheffield.

“We just can’t wait to get stuck in and start using this astounding new technology.”