Unable to Get Access to Hospitals, Student Nurses Use 3D Simulators

(Photo by NCEC)
(Photo by NCEC)

Real-world simulations in the nursing field are performed regularly to allow individuals in high-risk fields to practice and improve the skills required. For nursing students at York, these types of simulations are growing in popularity as nursing educators are using various tools such as a new 3D simulator to train students.
      As part of their studies, nursing students are required to complete an internship in a hospital that can provide them with valuable real-world experience. However, more students are having a hard time getting into hospitals due to legal concerns, so 3D simulations are a roundabout way of practicing their techniques in a life-like virtual environment.
      Members of the York College Interdisciplinary Health Practices Group designed a virtual program to, “assess students’ attitudes toward 3D simulations, and determine the practical and financial feasibility of creating these tools,” according to a recent article published in the International Journal of Learning.
      “The idea was to create simulations where nursing students could practice dangerous or difficult things in a virtual environment, before doing them in the more practical setting,” said Assistant Professor of Behavioral Science Robert Duncan.
Duncan is also the director of the Office of Undergraduate Research. According to Duncan, the project was internally funded by a grant through the CUNY system. The purpose was to “pursue game and simulation-based learning for health education,” said Duncan.
      Due to increased competition and a number of other legal ramifications and worries on the part of hospitals, there are “a declining number of actual clinical site experiences” for students, said Duncan
      “Even at York College for instance there has been a steady increase in nursing students,” said Duncan. He explained that even with the new nursing training facility on campus, this increase has led to fewer resources for students. Developing simulations, Duncan suggests, is one way of “mitigating that change in faculty to student ratio.”
      Some patient’s situations are inappropriate for nursing students and are a reason hospital staff is reluctant to accept them, according to Duncan.
      “Some medical procedures, for instance intubation, pose a high risk to patients and are very expensive,” said Duncan. “Nursing students can’t necessarily be trained on some of these things because of the insurance risks.”
      And until they get comfortable with certain medical situations, the 3D environment is a safe and effective environment to master their skills before working on a live patient.

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