I have recently started working at Northern Melbourne Institute of Technical and Further Education (NMIT), where vet Dr Megan Dietze is leading the curriculum design for a new Bachelor of Veterinary Nursing degree. Hopefully taking its first students in 2014, the course will be the first of its type in Australia and allow vet nurses to obtain higher qualifications and academic status than they have previously had access to. (The only related degree available in Australia at present is the Bachelor of Applied Science (Veterinary Technology) at The University of Queensland.)
As a core focus of the curriculum we are considering the concept of a fictional hospital, for which we plan to create staff, patients and clients to use as a scaffold for learning throughout the course. This would start in the first semester by simply using some fictitious patients as examples to illustrate some basic anatomical and physiological concepts and expand in later parts of the course to be used to teach many different areas such as communication and human resources as well as acting as linked case studies through all years of the course.
Before putting a lot of resources into the idea, we are seeking evidence of the effectiveness of the model as a teaching and learning tool. Literature searches of major databases have not produced many references. Does anyone know of any literature describing similar models and their use in teaching and learning? We are aware of Pharmville, used at Monash University School of Pharmacy but no doubt there are other examples. Any suggestions will be gratefully received.