Did you know about the innovative healthcare technology based learning programs at Devry International University? The Institute for Research and Clinical Strategy (IRCS) at DeVry Medical International (DMI) is a dedicated academic unit committed to researching and developing simulation technology as it pertains to clinical education.
One problem plaguing medical and nursing educators is a lack of good clinical sites with the ability to provide a standardized, comprehensive clinical experience. That’s why DMI has turned to simulation centers and technologies to supplement preliminary in-person patient encounters.
The benefits are immeasurable. First, the controlled environment of the simulation center provides students with increased competence and confidence in a number of skills before they enter clinical environments with live patients. By allowing faculty to create and replicate various scenarios, students log practice hours in a true-to-life environment that may not have been possible in a conventional clinical setting. And by supplementing with simulation technologies, students are afforded an arguably more thorough learning process than live clinical experiences alone can provide. The end result is increased patient safety.
Games are an effective source of entertainment, with the best ones engaging players in skill building, strategy, and competition. With the prevalence of mobile devices, gaming has taken a turn for the convenient, as mobile users are able to challenge friends from any location and at any time of day. What if we could harness the intrinsic engagement of mobile gaming, and leverage it to build practical skills in the medical and veterinary world? Through strategic partnerships with Games Learning Society and Learning Games Network, DMI has done just that.
With mobile game-based simulations, medical and veterinary students have access to a range of designed experiences — from hand washing to emergency patient intervention — to facilitate practice and mastery before interfacing with live patients or animals. Each of these game-based mobile applications records user proficiency in the given task. For faculty, this means continuous access to students’ progress; for many students, though, this also means friendly competition and enhanced engagement through learning as game-play or performance.
Virtual Learning Environments
Chamberlain College of Nursing offers post-licensure educational opportunities through use of a virtual learning environment, used in tandem with traditional clinical placements. The current environment, called Second Life, is a virtual, three-dimensional application that is fully interactive and mimics the real world through the use of avatars.
These types of learning environments in the field of nursing are growing in popularity since they have become an opportune adjunct to practicum sites. One major benefit of a virtual learning environment, like Second Life, is that it can provide some of the necessary experiences for students, without relying solely on external sites. Additionally, faculty have enhanced control over the student experience in Second Life and the option to tailor scenarios to curriculum and student need.
Second Life allows students to navigate real-world scenarios in realistic environments that may not have been possible on-site. These experiences include but are not necessarily limited to patient interactions. For example, Second Life provides students the opportunity to explore and renovate an abandoned wing of a hospital to accommodate a new a cardiac wellness center that has a working budget. In traditional practicums, budget details are not shared with students; in the virtual learning environment, though, faculty can create such scenarios to help students develop the skills they need to assume their future roles.
These developments have reshaped the learning landscape by creating new opportunities in the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program’s indirect care tracks at the graduate level, while supporting learning in the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program, Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program, and Registered Nurse (RN) to BSN online degree completion option.