Virtual reality helps nursing students experience a patient’s perspective

As I clicked on the door, a weary mother shrugged a white blanket beside her daughter. A medical team makes the cut and sends it to a professional level.

White skin does not come off. Some epithelial sloughing. Significant lung injury. Her CRP is high. Consider ECMO. Be ready for travel.

The mother nodded and tried to catch the words, but could find no sense in them. Her rapid-fire questions about her daughter’s smoking habits surprised and confused her. As she begins to cry, the crew leaves the room. As the mother turned to the last person left, the nurse woke her daughter.

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“What does all this mean? Please tell me what happened to her!”

“Aunt. Kelly, I have to go check on a patient, but I’ll be back as soon as I can,” the nurse replied and headed out the door.

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The scene was as tragic as any ordinary witness.

“Many of us who interact with the health care system and loved ones do not receive the kind of care we feel we need in terms of empathy,” reflects Clinical Assistant Professor Lori Sprague, associate director of the Center for Innovative Simulation and Practice in Binghamton. University’s Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences “And we thought, ‘We can help people understand what it’s like to be who they are.’ is.'”

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A virtual reality (VR) simulation helps undergraduate nursing students do just that. allowing them to experience the emergency-care scenario from the perspective of an intubated patient. Contrary to popular belief, empathic skills are meant to be empowering.

An innovative solution

Decker has explored the possibilities of VR before, but early software was expensive and involved a full headset connected to a computer. Limited to one user at a time, it proved impractical for a classroom setting or home use. smartphone Install the YouTube app and Google Cardboard.

“You need to be really accessible to people, so we came up with the idea of ​​creating a virtual reality simulation that’s easy and accessible,” said Patrick Leiby, Decker’s director of technology and innovation. “You can get a $3 cardboard headset, plug in your phone, and have 100 students sit in a room at the same time and do the same virtual reality simulation.”

The Collaborative Research on Design and Practice (CRISP), a research group that includes Sprague and assistant professor Rosemary Collier, received a SUNY Innovative Instructional Technology grant for the project. Collier and Sprague at SUNY Delhi; Part of a smoking related research team, using their knowledge to create a vaping scenario in collaboration with the nursing programs at SUNY Broome and SUNY Brockport.

“We’ve seen some lung injuries around this time where young people are getting ‘popcorn lung’ and using vaping products and ending up in the ICU,” said Collier, an emergency care nurse. Binghamton area.

Unlike traditional video production, VR must be recorded once. To stay away from the scene, Leiby worked in a separate room with an iPad camera. Leiby was played by faculty members who practiced during several dress rehearsals before filming the story with an Insta360 camera.

For their roles, teachers draw on aspects of their own experience. The day before the shooting, Sprague’s daughter was hospitalized for a medical emergency. Her emotions of a distressed mother captured in the video are fresh and raw. Collier has worked as a physician and is intimately familiar with the communication blind spots that can sometimes arise in emergency situations.

“If you’re always in the critical care unit; Physicians are residents of these groups. I go from room to room with respiratory therapists and nurses,” Collier said. “They have a job to do.” The work is not always therapeutic communication with the patient and family.”

Empathy in the curriculum

Until now, The VR simulation is part of an introduction to professional nursing course where students wearing glasses watch the simulation and then discuss the simulation together.

Empathy and emotional intelligence are part of the nursing curriculum and they are developed in many ways. for example, During one-on-one practice, nursing students learn how to physically transfer patients to bed, giving them not only the skill, but also insight into how a patient feels: in short, empathy.

“It is convenient to provide health care. This My Home base. But it’s a terrifying day for every patient who walks through that door. It was their worst day. It can be hard to remember to put yourself in their shoes; It’s hard to remember that this isn’t. their home base,” Collier said. “You really have to go out of your way to create some connection and comfort.”

When Jenny Nigro lifted the glasses to her eyes. She was already stressed about the date of the pageant and a big test that afternoon. As she watched the incident, she was horrified by the patient’s vulnerability.

Negro, who graduated with her nursing degree in May 2022, said, “It is an empathic meditation to see how the care team’s brutality and lack of warmth lead to (the patient’s) experience of helplessness. “In short, I noted how well-timed our empathy VR simulation was when we were overworked and exhausted. It gives us an opportunity to reflect on how we can manage these feelings that arise in nursing practice, so we support our clients not to be disadvantaged.”

There are plans to create more VR scenarios, such as situations where patients don’t understand English or where conflict resolution skills may be needed. Leiby has used 360 technology in other projects, such as a virtual tour of Decker’s new Motion Analysis Research Laboratory.

Collier points out that real-life situations can play an important role for future nurses, giving them access to experiences they may not have during clinical time and sharing those experiences with classmates. At its heart, sharing is the foundation of empathy.

“Patients don’t always remember the clinical complexities going on behind the scenes, but they will remember how their nurse or provider cared for them,” Sprague says. “Sometimes it’s just a matter of pulling up a chair or changing your body language and being respectful of your time.”


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