How the RV could help bring more paramedics to Sask.

SASKATOON – In an effort to reach more potential candidates, the Saskatchewan College of Paramedics (SCoP) announced a partnership with Luxsonic Technologies to use virtual reality technology to assess the skills of overseas paramedics looking for work in Saskatchewan.

“One of our imminent challenges is that we have a higher vacancy rate than the paramedics available in this province,” said Jacquie Messer-Lepage, executive director of SCoP. “Especially in rural and remote communities, the issue of recruitment and retention is a challenge for them.”

This month, SCoP received $ 800,000 funding from Canada Employment and Social Development for a project that uses virtual reality to assess the skills of internationally trained applicants who want to come to Saskatchewan. VR technology allows SCoP to lead candidates through virtual scenarios, testing their competence and skills from a distance, rather than face-to-face.

“They may come across a patient in a parking lot and come in and have to do a sternum rub,” Messer-Lepage said. “At certain times on stage you may also be asked certain questions:‘ What do you think is your preliminary diagnosis, how did you come from here? “”

With the additional support of the Saskatchewan Department of Immigration and Vocational Training, the overall goal of the Virtual Paramedic Professional Competency Assessment (VAPOC) project is to develop web-based immersive technology tools.

Luxsonic Technologies Inc., in Saskatoon, was awarded the contract and will now work with SCoP to develop the virtual reality scenarios over the next 30 months before launching the virtual recruitment tool.

“We are very excited to work with SCoP on this innovative project. Remote assessment of practical clinical skills is a very difficult problem, which is not easily solved with traditional technology, ”said Mike Wesolowski, CEO of Luxsonic Technologies in a press release. “VAPOC will be the first such virtual reality-based occupational skills assessment and we hope it will be used by paramedic regulators across Canada.”

So far, an intubation scenario is approaching, and Messer-Lepage expects to have a wide variety of scenarios ready in 30 months to try and recruit paramedics in Saskatchewan.

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