Portland Community College’s Emergency Medical Services program is getting new Meta Quest VR headsets to train students on different emergency scenarios. The VR training is part of the new Cascade Campus Medical Simulation Center that was introduced last year for the students.
The 2,200 square-foot center enables remarkable healthcare simulation to evaluate students’ progress before they are ready to treat actual patients in a hospital or an ambulance. PCC facilitates training for several hundred Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and about 25 paramedics every year.
“This Simulation Center is designed to let us run simulations that begin with the 911 call, including dispatch,” said Robert Victorino, the clinical coordinator of the EMS and Paramedic Program at PCC.
The program deploys radios to dispatch students to a simulated residence. The student can provide some treatment to the patient at the residence and move the simulated patient to the back of the ambulance and then to the emergency room.
Such a simulation opens up several opportunities in the healthcare sector. VR in healthcare has been around for numerous years, but its applications for EMS are very few. Creating VR-based scenarios for the industry could be enormously beneficial.
The Cascade Medical Simulation Center features three patient care spaces, an ambulance, two ICU nursing rooms, and two debriefing rooms. It was funded by the 2017 bond to expand health professions by investing in new interactive training spaces. The spaces within the center are isolated from each other, enabling the instructors to conduct training, observe, and record students simultaneously across different scenarios.
A cloud-based learning management system compiles the simulation recordings and provides students and staff remote access to the data. Therefore, the faculty can evaluate and debrief with students in detail to help improve medical protocol and technique with the proper equipment and space usage.
The VR simulation suite was funded by a grant from President Mark Mitsui’s Immersive Education Pilot Project, aiming to foster innovation within PCC’s career-technical programs.
PCC also conducted a case study when it first started using VR. The students provided tremendously positive feedback as the technology helped them feel more secure and confident within the VR simulation environment.
The initiative could be further expanded to other programs at PCC, which could explore new possibilities with the Simulation Center.
“Simulation is a proven method for education,” said Victorino. “This space is an invaluable asset to PCC students from all healthcare disciplines.”
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