In the world of surgical technology education, simulation has become a popular tool for preparing students for the operating room environment. However, with the onset of COVID-19, simulation has become even more important as traditional hands-on training has been limited. That's where PeriopSim comes in.
We had the opportunity to speak to Jay Chambers, an assistant professor of surgical technology at Nashville State Community College, who shared his experience using PeriopSim in his program. Here's what he had to say.
"I originally learned about PeriopSim VR from talking to several other programs around the country, what they were doing with simulation and several of them mentioned using virtual reality and how that helped really propel students ahead quicker in certain things."
Chambers was impressed with PeriopSim's ability to help students develop familiarization with the OR environment sooner than with traditional methods. He noted that the COVID-19 pandemic made it difficult to divide students into labs, but with PeriopSim, he was able to assign it as homework and divide students into VR environments sooner.
"The payoffs of being able to put people in a psychomotor environment sooner... because we were in the midst of COVID I could divide people up... PeriopSim allowed them to get into the OR environment sooner."
Chambers recognized PeriopSim's value and chose to allocate some of its programming efforts toward it. He uses PeriopSim to familiarize his students with surgical instrumentation and procedures and assigns it as homework before moving them into the PeriopSim VR environment.
"The way our program currently works is we run only one cohort and so we only use PeriopSim primarily in the fall. How it worked originally in concept is probably not how it's gonna work going forward."
Chambers' plan for this fall is to grade his students based on time spent in PeriopSim VR. He believes that the more time spent in VR, the better the grade. However, he faces a challenge with only four VR headsets for 32 students. To manage this, he plans to use an open lab where students can schedule a time to use the VR headsets outside of normal class time.
Chambers believes that PeriopSim is helping his students become more proficient in the lab environment, which translates into earlier clinical experiences and finishing the program sooner.
"They're not aware of what we're all doing on the back end of it, but they've made several comments about students appearing to be coming to clinical more prepared, and understanding the psychomotor end of it better than they have before."
While Chambers has yet to use all of the features of PeriopSim, he plans to increase his use of the reporting feature to monitor student progress more closely.
"Based on where I am now versus what I knew then, I would have purchased more headsets because of the way my class structure works. I would have probably purchased three times as many headsets if I could."
Chambers advises other educators to pay close attention to how they use simulation in their curriculum and invest in enough VR headsets to accommodate students.
"You have to really look at where you devote time using simulation because it takes time."
PeriopSim is changing the game in surgical technology education and Chambers is just one example of how VR simulation is helping students develop the skills they need to be successful in the operating room.