Meet virtual patients

September 13: EAU CLAIRE: Miles Johnson is not the easiest patient to work with.

Retired from a harsh agricultural life near Mondovi, his deeply tanned face looks stern as the nurses in training at the Chippewa Valley Technical College suddenly appear in the bed of a nursing home.

It’s 10:30 in the morning – it’s time to routinely check your vital signs, but you feel pretty agitated.

Sitting on his bed, he crosses his arms across his chest, occasionally shaking his head and pinching his forehead in a strabismus. Miles asks about his wife, if it’s time to eat and says he’d rather go home.

He’ll take a good way to put it on top so he can relax before he rolls up his sleeve to let a nurse put a fist on his blood pressure or talk about how he’s been feeling lately.

Achieving these skills is what Miles, who exists in the world of virtual reality within a computer, can do for CVTC students.

“It allows you to really think analytically,” said Stephan Linnaus, a CVTC nursing instructor.

Some of her students put on Oculus virtual reality glasses and grabbed small drivers last week so they could see, talk, and treat virtual patients at the university’s health education center in Eau Claire.

Developing for more than a year, CVTC’s virtual reality simulation uses software from the Wisconsin-based company Acadicus, and scenarios designed by university faculty to simulate a variety of patients that students will likely encounter when work in health care.

Scenarios that have been done so far include a person with chest pain, a 7-year-old boy recovering from a tonsillectomy, and a person who does not speak English and has heart failure.

Five of these scenarios have already been created by the Open RN project team, which includes teachers and simulation professionals from across the state, including CVTC. The team’s goal is to create 25 scenarios created in 2023.

And, like two nursing textbooks the Open RN team produced, these virtual patients will be open source, free for everyone, to download to advance in health education.

Students can interact with patients using a computer, but to get the full virtual experience (with glasses and the ability to shuffle their feet around a virtual hospital room) they will need to be in one of the five virtual centers. statewide simulation.

CVTC has one, with others at Gateway Technical College, Madison Area Technical College, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and Moraine Park Technical College.

Kim Ernstmeyer, director of CVTC’s Open RN project and former head of the university’s nursing program, explained that virtual reality is a further step in the use of simulation technology by the university.

The simulations have been part of CVTC’s health programs for 20 years, he said. It began with complex mannequins depicting patients in CVTC rooms that mimic clinical setup.

A few years ago, the school added augmented reality using iPads that allowed students to view images and videos relevant to the hands-on work they are doing with the mannequins.

In March 2019, a grant from the Department of Education allowed CVTC to begin work to add virtual reality to its healthcare simulations.

Some virtual reality workouts took place during the spring, but this semester begins in full force.

“The use of simulations at this time will be valuable,” said Theresa Meinen, director of clinical education for the CVTC’s respiratory care program and coordinator of the simulation center.

With health care facilities and nursing homes maintaining the current precautions to prevent the spread of coronavirus during the ongoing pandemic, it has become a challenge to get students into these environments to complete the time of clinical experience required.

“With COVID it has become a good alternative,” Ernstmeyer said of the simulations.

But then Meinen said, “Honestly, it was a necessary alternative.”

Another advantage seen in e-learning is that it is an environment where students can safely learn from mistakes without risking harm to real patients.

“For that we really use the simulation for security,” Ernstmeyer said.

A virtual scenario that Linnaus recalled was a patient with low potassium levels who was accidentally prescribed a drug that would cause that crucial electrolyte to fall even further.

Either students detect the error before the medication is administered, he said, or see what happens when an error is made and do what they can to get the patient’s condition back to normal.

“Most of the time we let them continue with this mistake and then talk about it,” Meinen said.

In a real-life clinical setting, professionals who supervise students would prevent them from making mistakes that would harm patients ’health.

There are limits to a student’s clinical experience that can be simulated in front of an environment with real patients.

National standards allow simulating up to 50%, but CVTC programs have kept their proportion below 25%, according to Ernstmeyer.

At this rate, it still keeps the health simulation center at CVTC busy.

“This room fills up from morning to night,” Meinen said Monday, when there was a pause in the calendar to demonstrate the new system to local media.

Not only does the CVTC nursing program make use of the simulation center, but also students who are trained to be respiratory therapists, pharmacy technicians, radiographers, and physiotherapy assistants.

And, aside from health care, CVTC also makes use of virtual reality in the emergency services education center to train students who will become firefighters and emergency medical technicians.

This afternoon, students entering these fields will use technology to learn what it is like to be in various dangerous situations.

“We are able to simulate real fire conditions such as heat, smoke and situation awareness in an immersive learning environment with minimal resources,” Mark Schwartz, CVTC and EMS fire continuing education coordinator, said in an email . “It offers students a unique and innovative experience that is very real.”

The college will still do real-life fire training exercises, he said, but virtual reality will complement them.

Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *