Nurses trained in ultrasound with VR from VitaSim

Nurses from the out-of-hospital acute care team in Kolding, Denmark, are now performing focused lung ultrasound scans (FLUS) in citizens’ own homes – their training included a VR module from VitaSim.

Elderly citizens with acute respiratory problems are taking up a lot of space in already filled hospitals. Early detection and treatment of the illnesses that cause the issues could possibly prevent the condition from getting worse and decrease risk of hospitalization or shorten it. FLUS is one tool that can be used for early detection of illnesses like pneumonia or fluid in the lungs, and can be performed in the citizens’ own home or in nursing homes. Learning to perform FLUS is no simple task though, because you have to examine a lot of sick patients to learn to recognize the symptoms of the different illnesses on the ultrasound image.

As part of a PhD study by Siri Aas Smedemark from the Research unit of Geriatrics at OUH, 10 nurses have now been certified to perform FLUS in the patients’ own home. Part of their training took place in VR with a training module from VitaSim created in collaboration with researcher Jonas Dragsbæk Larsen from Research unit of Radiology at OUH as well as several other talented professionals from Respiratory research unit at OUH and SimC at OUH.

The nurses did the VR training on their own, both in the break room, at the ward and at home. No instructor was needed during this part of the training, because VitaSims virtual FLUS instructor was right at hand in the VR scenario.

Some of the advantages of training with the VitaSim VR scenario are:

  • Individual flexibility: You can train any time, you can repeat the procedure as much as you need to, and you can learn from your mistakes without any detrimental consequences.
  • Pathology: You can experience virtual patients suffering from different respiratory issues and learn to recognize even rare symptoms.
  • Mirror-learning: The virtual instructor demonstrates and explains how to perform procedures on the virtual patients while you simultaneously practice them next to the instructor.

All the nurses passed the certification, and feedback from them shows how excited they were to use the VR training scenario:

“It has been a great way to learn with the VR glasses, because you could try your hands at it virtually. The systematic teaching of the procedure in each room has also taught me to be systematic in my examinations and evaluations. The repetitions are helpful for my understanding and memory.”

“The VR training was VERY rewarding and educational”

“The virtual instructor is very thorough and it’s easier to understand compared to e-learning. It was brilliant to try performing FLUS in the virtual world and being able to rewind or start over if you needed to.”