How Virtual Reality is Changing Medical Education
Virtual reality is already being used to treat a variety of medical conditions, but it’s not just helping patients. While the technology is still new, the applications of virtual reality in medical training are being taken seriously by medical schools and practitioners.
Surgical Training – Medical students are using virtual reality simulators to train in the basics of surgery. In addition to providing students with an introduction to the technical aspects of procedures, virtual surgery can be used to place students in high-stress situations (like a patient bleeding out) that would be impossible to replicate with real patients, better preparing them for future difficult situations.
Wayfinding – During the construction of the new University Health Systems hospital, Geomedia was tasked with recreating the entire building in a virtual reality environment. Using architectural plans, the Geomedia team was able to create a true-to-life facsimile of the hospital, complete with furniture and room numbers. UHS utilized the virtual world during employee training, so that doctors and support staff would be familiar with the layout of the building prior to having to treat patients in potentially high stress situations.
Improving Bedside Manner – Nursing students in Washington and Wyoming used the virtual world Second Life to develop their patient interaction skills. Student nurses would control a digital version of themselves and interacted with a digital patient, played by another student. Professors are able to use the simulated world to introduce scenarios that would be impractical or rare in a real world setting.