The pandemic has ruined what a typical day for a nursing student looked like on campus. But National University has come up with a new way to provide its students the experience of hands-on training and even being surrounded by peers and patients from the comfort of their home using VR technology.
“I think this is the future of nursing education,” said Dr. Gloria McNeal, Associate Vice President for Community Affairs in Health at National University.
The new virtual reality training program enables students to learn by doing in a simulated environment without putting themselves or their patients in any sort of jeopardy.
“You can make mistakes and it’s okay cause no one gets hurt,” Dr. McNeal stated.
Las Patronas, a philanthropic organization dedicated to supporting community services in San Diego County, put in nearly $50,000 for the program to fund the purchase of approximately 70 virtual reality headsets. And the San Diego County Board of Supervisors added another $25,000 for software and programming costs.
The program focuses on community outreach and employs an avatar to simulate the response for real-life circumstances. Dr. McNeal believes that just like any other, there is a learning curve there for this technology as well but it is surely one of the great leaps of modern medicine.
“I’m excited for what the future will bring. And allow students to enter the workforce well prepared for their role as professional nurses,” exclaimed Dr. McNeal.
The grant period aims to provide the simulated training to eight cohorts of students that will total to 80 students by 2022. However, National University plans to go ahead with the program and get in more students under its umbrella even after the grant runs out.
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