Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Paper: Design and implementation of a virtual world training simulation of ICU first hour handover processes
Just had a journal paper accepted with the Australian Critical Care Journal. This is part of our collaboration with Professor Ian Baldwin at Austin Health in Melbourne, Australia, and the Smart Services CRC. This system simulates nurse to nurse ICU shift handover processes, and is being used at Austin Health as a teaching tool for postgraduate nurses. Eprint of journal paper is here.
Nursing training for an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is a resource intensive process. High demands are made on staff, students and physical resources. Interactive, 3D computer simulations, known as virtual worlds, are increasingly being used to supplement training regimes in the health sciences; especially in areas such as complex hospital ward processes. Such worlds have been found to be very useful in maximising the utilisation of training resources. Our aim is to design and develop a novel virtual world application for teaching and training Intensive Care nurses in the approach and method for shift handover, to provide an independent, but rigorous approach to teaching these important skills. In this paper we present a virtual world simulator for students to practice key steps in handing over the 24/7 care requirements of intensive care patients during the commencing first hour of a shift. We describe the modelling process to provide a convincing interactive simulation of the handover steps involved. The virtual world provides a practice tool for students to test their analytical skills with scenarios previously provided by simple physical simulations, and live on the job training. Additional educational benefits include facilitation of remote learning, high flexibility in study hours and the automatic recording of a reviewable log from the session. To the best of our knowledge, we believe this is a novel and original application of virtual worlds to an ICU handover process. The major outcome of the work was a virtual world environment for training nurses in the shift handover process, designed and developed for use by postgraduate nurses in training.