Over the past thirty years, video games have become omnipresent in American popular culture. Children and adults alike get involved in gaming for entertainment and social engagement, as well as to take part in learning opportunities as varied as the technology itself. Reading primers are brought to life with colorful graphics and catchy, cartoon-filled comprehension exercises; guitar techniques are divulged by the hottest rock musicians; and precise hand-eye coordination is mastered by the medical practitioners of tomorrow. The latter is made possible with the help of not the latest game console, but rather with game-inspired virtual reality (VR) medical simulation training technology.
Today’s medical residents are tech-savvy. In fact, they're more than likely to have a gaming console at home: according to a 2012 Neilson study, 56% of American households own an Xbox One, PlayStation 4, or other current generation gaming platform. And so residents are predisposed to appreciate the possibility of training through game-based simulation.
VR medical simulation devices allow residents to develop decision making, communication, and motor skills(including tool usage, dexterity, and carpal range) within a software program. During a training exercise, residents use realistic instruments or sensitive touchpads to manipulate virtual objects by following along on a computer monitor. A wrong move immediately prompts the program to notify them through visual or physical cues, enabling understanding and correction of skill of decision making deficiencies.
When the VR device employs patient avatars, or images which reveal the patient's physical condition, the resident can also observe, assess, and make recommendations for treatment. Questions such as "How are you feeling today?" or "When did you first notice the pain?" might be followed up by vocalized comments by the patient, prompting the resident to order tests.
Like video games, this simulation training technology encourages users to practice until they receive a high score. Residents can complete exercises repeatedly, move on to higher levels requiring more skill and expertise, and see how they rank in comparison to their peers. It becomes an appealing – and even fun – challenge to master the virtual medical training program and rank locally, regionally, nationally, and beyond. And because increasingly advanced clinical educational tracts are being made available, residents will always be motivated to continue their training.
Medical simulation also gives residents the opportunity to develop skills in a safe environment. They're free to make mistakes – and learn to improve on them – without running the risk of harming an actual patient. And when it's time to meet with a patient and perform an actual medical diagnosis, they'll have already completed many hours of simulation training, making them better able to perform at a higher caliber from the start.
Gaming technology can lead users into new worlds, help them unlock artistic potential, and sometimes even educate them in a specialty as delicate, attention-demanding, and intense as medical practice. When coupled with traditional medical training program curricula, medical simulation training devices allow residents to develop their skills – and have fun in the process.
About the Author:
The author of the article has extensive experience in the field of Simulation Training and Simulation Based Mastery Learning..
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