Virtual reality simulator helps train nurses at Southern Regional Technical College

Southern Regional Technical College uses AI to train nursing students
Published: Aug. 15, 2023 at 8:11 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WALB) - New technology is breaking through at Southern Regional Technical College with virtual reality.

Southern Regional Technical College’s (SRTC) virtual reality simulator is a training ground for new nurses. The simulator has cameras, virtual reality headsets that allow teachers to simulate responses to students and manikins that provide different scenarios.

“Everything that they perform is captured so that we can record it and view it with them later to identify it with them later, areas for improvement, areas of success, ways that they can communicate a little bit more appropriately,” said Simulator Coordinator Megan Long. “We can run multiple scenarios on her. She has sounds. You can feel contractions on her abdomen, she responds to contractions in her abdomen as she’s forcing that baby out. There is a baby inside of her that’s delivered, comes out and cries, has appropriate responses to interventions and so does she.”

Not only does SRTC provide this simulation to help teach its students, but they also serve their community as an overflow in the event of an emergency.

“Nursing has a huge shortage right now, you’re seeing a lot of burnouts right we need good, ready-prepared nurses.” Long said.

That preparedness and acceleration are seen not only in students who come to nursing school with no experience, but those who were in the field already say the simulators give them a variety of hands-on training scenarios.

“When I went through LPN school, we didn’t get to do the virtual experiences. So, coming in from what I was used to in my freshman semester, versus now, towards the end, we got to be in real-time with our virtual lab,” said student Jasmine Wright.

Southern Regional Technical College has new virtual reality simulators that help train their nursing students and prepare them for the real world of nursing.

“You have patient scenarios that mimic what can happen in real life in the hospital if we can do that in a controlled environment, have some debriefing where we say what goes right, what goes wrong, what could you do differently. It prepares our students in a way that can’t be matched with lecture alone,” said Long.

In the simulation lab, the manikins respond to different types of complications and scenarios.

“This is what I’ve done in the lab that day when a patient was having that symptom or maybe I had a family member pass out cause the wife was having a baby. It lets you know how to handle it hands-on cause you’ve seen similar things already,” Wright said.

“In the real-life scenario, you don’t know what that patient is going to say to you, and so having an AI respond appropriately or even throw some curveballs at you, to see if you can think on your feet and make those changes is going to be very, very beneficial for us.” Long said.

Not only do the nursing students have to think on their feet, but they also role-play concerned family members in the emergency room which allows them to connect with their patients in an emotional way.

“We can go through that with our students so that they know when they step up to a patient for the first time and they’re terrified. You know what I remember doing this in skills labs, so they can be prepared as a new nurse who wants to go to a labor and delivery unit,” Long said.

SRTC currently is ranked #1 for technical colleges for nursing graduates in Georgia.