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Palm Beach State College Educator Spotlight: Jo Lana Cota

Jan 9, 2024 8:59:52 AM / by James Hay

In the dynamic field of Surgical Technology education, Palm Beach State College stands out, largely thanks to educators like Jo Lana Cota. In our recent conversation with Jo Lana Cota, she reveals an insightful journey into how the integration of PeriopSim VR is revolutionizing student engagement and learning.

How did you first learn about PeriopSim?

Jo Lana Cota: I discovered PeriopSim VR at professional conferences. A coworker, aware of its Canadian origins, recommended we explore it. Its presence in email blasts and ads kept my interest alive, especially after learning it used VR for surgical technology student training and assessment.

Was it an Educator or general Allied Health conference?

Jo Lana Cota:
It was either the AST National Conference or the AST Educators Conference. That was the first time I made contact with a representative from the company.  It was more or less just several different sources where I was seeing PeriopSim and then was very interested in it. So I wanted to explore it. The moment I discovered that the software was accompanied by virtual reality technology and that the company was utilizing VR for surgical technology student training and assessment, my interest was instantly piqued.


 What appealed to you most about PeriopSim VR?

Jo Lana Cota:
What was most appealing to me was the engagement factor I felt. It seemed perfect for my students to apply textbook knowledge and hands-on skills in a virtual environment.

Did you use special funding for PeriopSim?

Jo Lana Cota:
Yes. Initially, I used our program budget but later secured technology grants through our IT department. Our Chief Information Officer was the person who notified me of this and was excited about me integrating and implementing this technology into my curriculum.  I had their full support.

It seems your college is quite progressive with technology.

Jo Lana Cota:
Absolutely. We collaborated with the University of Florida to integrate AI into faculty training. Our use of PeriopSim VR, was showcased in a press conference and a Technology Summit, and has been well-received, especially for its practical applications in surgical education.

Have you explored all the features that PeriopSim offers to you as an Educator of PeriopSim?

Jo Lana Cota:
I’m still exploring but have focused on statistics and data to monitor student progress. The most important thing is figuring out how to get your students in there and just get them doing the modules. 

What has been the learner feedback on PeriopSim?

Jo Lana Cota:
Overall, it’s been positive. Students, especially those who are gamers, find it engaging. They appreciate its practical value in clinical settings. I hear students comment that they feel like PeriopSim helped them with what they’re doing in the field. Their comments and feedback are that when they would be in the clinical setting they can see where PeriopSim helped them be better at what they’re doing in the field.

What challenges did PeriopSim help you overcome?

Jo Lana Cota:
It has enhanced instrument recall, anticipatory skills, and understanding of surgical procedures. It's also been instrumental in teaching sterile techniques effectively.

Any Educator tips or recommendations for other PeriopSim Educators?

Jo Lana Cota:
Get PeriopSim. Whatever you do, try to do what you can to be able to provide this resource for your student. To prepare our students, we really need to think outside the box and embrace technology, because that's really what's pushing healthcare education forward right now. 

Did you find the setup process easy?  VR can sometimes be a bit complex. Do you have any thoughts or feedback on that aspect?

Jo Lana Cota:
Setting up students' accounts was fairly easy, and you provided great support.  Once you have everything downloaded, know how to log in, and you know how to navigate through the platform it's pretty seamless.

Is there anything else you'd like to share before we wrap up?

Jo Lana Cota: I continue to be excited as I learn more about the software and continue to share it with more groups of students. I look forward to any improvements, additional instrument trays, and procedures that will be added to the platform. I think this will only enhance the product and make it worth even more for the surgical technology programs that have purchased! 


Topics: PeriopSim, Surg Tech Program, Virtual Reality, Curriculum Integration

James Hay

Written by James Hay