It doesn’t have that sterile hospital smell. And no staff in white coats running through the corridors. But as soon as you enter the HFU “Multiprofessional Skills Lab” on the Furtwangen Campus, you feel like you‘re in a hospital ward. With hospital beds, catheter tubes, ventilators, drip stands, operating theatre equipment and even a tracheostomised “patient” – students take a deep dive into the world of medicine and nursing they are being prepared for at the Faculty of Health, Safety, Society, in the “Applied Health Sciences” programme, for example.
“Our students will later be working in healthcare, in the broadest sense of the word, and in areas where consulting plays a major role,” says Prof Dr Peter König, the Dean of Studies for “Applied Health Promotion” and Director of the Care and Technology Lab, one of the 10 research institutes at HFU. “That’s why everyone here has to get into bed at some point. It is vital that the students experience personally what it’s like, for example, to be repositioned or to sit in a wheelchair. They also need to experience what nursing means in terms of closeness and distance.”
The Multiprofessional Skills Lab is used for both teaching and research. In the second semester students are given insights into practical procedures. These include the simulation of an operation (usually rather gruesome), being made aware of the necessity for hygiene rules (crucially important even before corona), and the chance to try out in a wheelchair how disabled-friendly Furtwangen really is, and experience how people react to “people on wheels” (at times sobering).
Such experiences don’t just provide theoretical knowledge. They often give students a whole new motivation to improve the situation, to come up with new ideas and to go into research. The Care and Technology Lab currently has ten projects, including research into dementia and palliative care for children.
Our "Labs in Focus" series opens the doors of the many exciting labs at HFU to show the diverse areas of research available to our young scientists. The articles, which will be published in no particular order, can be read on the HFU Research Blog.