The mission of Vanderbilt University School of Nursing is to lead in education, evidence-based practice, scholarship, and research in order to provide optimal health care to diverse communities through innovation, inclusion, and compassion.
The Vanderbilt University School of Nursing has limited opportunities to effectively train its growing Nursing School enrollment to become ultrasound technology certified due to medical equipment costs and a strong focus on patient safety. The cost of ultrasound devices, while continuing to fall, can still be very expensive. Taking existing scanners out of patient production to support the training mission is just not an option.
By replacing much of the didactic training with virtual environment experiences, the students can view that content at their leisure, orient themselves on the anatomical features being scanned, view the ultrasound output in full field of view in real-time coinciding with what the clinician is doing with the patient.
While this technology doesn’t completely replace hands-on experiences, it can significantly reduce the time of hands-on experience needed to develop proficiency. In short, when the hands-on part of the course begins, the students are much better able to utilize that time effectively because they already know what they need to do and how to do it, thus allowing instructors to train more students more quickly.
To capture the experience of operating ultrasound equipment, three different media components were combined to simulate the clinical environment: 360-degree video of the clinician and patient interactions shown from two distinct camera angles; a top-down view with graphic, anatomical overlays; and streaming video of the ultrasound output timed to coincide with exactly how the instructor is interacting with the patient.
Each video scenario was enhanced with additional instructional elements on the top-down view of the patient, such as drawings of anatomical elements that appear when selected. Questions, annotations, buttons, and hotspots were included to enforce key concepts and quiz the students on probe placement. Once each scenario was finalized with interactions and assessments, the course was published in two formats: HTML5 for viewing on a computer’s browser, as well as CenarioVR Live and mobile for viewing on a phone in a Google Cardboard or Oculus Go headset.