The future is now, and that couldn’t be more true for students studying medicine at Temple College.
They are using advanced technology to not only learn, but experience what they wouldn’t otherwise by putting their life-saving skills to the test.
“When they actually get to see the skin color change instead of this little voice in the head going ‘your patient is now blue’ or ‘your patient has stopped breathing’ or even you know, ‘your patient has stopped seizing’ they can actually see it now and i think the realism that it provides for them helps it click just a little bit more and they want to act faster than having to process what we are saying to this plastic mannequin that’s not doing anything, this thing is moving,” said Paramedic Professor at Temple College Diedra Blankenship.
Three sets of virtual reality lenses, making it all possible.
“The light bulbs go off, they want to react instantly. I think that’s great, it prepares them better for the real world, so they don’t have to stop and think they can just go right in and get after it and take care of patients,” said Blankenship.
The holographic lenses, are different from virtual reality lenses in which they provide augmented reality in the real world.
“We’ve had it for about a year, we are the beta testers so this is a company out of San Antonio that came to us through our simulations director and asked if we’d be interested and we always want to be on the cutting edge, latest and greatest and it’s really been well used, well liked, we’re definitely playing with it a lot,” said Shelley Pearson, Associate VP for Health Professions at Temple College.
Although teachers enjoy having that different element in their lesson plans, it’s students who benefit the most.
“It adds a new dynamic to how the students will be able to assess patients, so often we are in scenarios and we’ll have a mannequin, but being able to see how a patient responds whether they are having a seizure or what they’re skin color looks like, things that a regular mannequin cannot portray, having virtual reality allows us to actually assess the patient and be able to see what’s really going on,” said Matthew Wells, Student studying Paramedicine at Temple College.
The lenses allow the option of bringing a mannequin to life.
“We can have this one talk, we can actually talk for it as well too and it’s lips will move and with all the new anemojis that are coming out, it’s pretty amazing,” said Blankenship.
“And then they also get to see in a controlled environment, where it’s not a live patient, so there is an opportunity to kind of slow down, learn, reset, you know, figure out what you did wrong and for others to watch,” said Pearson.
Allowing all Temple College students to practice on the closest thing to a real person.
“It’s here, it’s real, it’s happening now, you know you always see like holograms and stuff in TV shows and movies yeah, but we are using it to train people you know for pre-hospital medicine. So it’s really great, and I like that it’s not just for pre-hospital medicine, you can use this anywhere for any type of training,” said Blankenship.
Giving them the tools to be able to save lives in the real world.
“In the real world we are going to see patients and so it’s a difficult transition when you are dealing with a real person vs. a mannequin and having a simulator in a virtual reality that acts like a real person will help us adjust i think more to that transition,” added Wells.