Victory for virtual maternity unit in national midwifery awards

26 January 2012

A University of Nottingham maternity unit in the online 3D virtual world, Second Life, has won a prestigious national award from the Royal College of Midwives.

The maternity unit was designed as an additional and innovative teaching tool which allows student midwives to practice their management of care and communication skills in a virtual environment.

It was developed by Jenny Bailey, a midwife teacher at the University, in collaboration with Colleen McCants and Fay Cross in the Information Services Department.

Royal College accolade

The RCM awarded the project the Philips Avent Award for Innovation in Midwifery at the annual awards ceremony of the College in London yesterday. The judges were impressed with the unit’s delivery of a range of scenarios and environments which student midwives can access, some of which they may not commonly encounter during real-life clinical practice in training.

Facilities in the unit include all the equipment available in the modern labour suite including birthing pools, gym balls and inhalation analgesia (gas and air).

Jenny Bailey, Midwife Teacher in The University of Nottingham’s Academic Division of Midwifery , said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be a winner, especially considering the excellent calibre of the other candidates. Hopefully, the virtual maternity project will continue to go from strength to strength.”

Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives , Cathy Warwick, said: “This project demonstrates that there is wonderful and ground-breaking work being done by midwives and I congratulate Jenny on her award. Midwifery practice is always moving forward and innovating. This shows that if we give midwives the resources and freedom to do this, the result is better services for women, babies and their families.”

More details on the Virtual Maternity Unit on the University’s island on Second Life can be found at: www.nottingham.ac.uk/news/pressreleases/2012/january/new-life-in-second-life.aspx

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