AURORA, Colo. — During the pandemic, many people learned new ways to utilize technology as an advantage in everyday life.
Every profession was impacted, including nurses.
Chelseigh Newkerk is an ICU nurse at Denver Health, but lately she's been spending time at the University of Colorado College of Nursing as part of a study on using virtual reality to help train medical professionals.
“You're able to look around and you can walk closer to the patient if you really need to examine something closely,” she said while describing her experience wearing Oculus VR goggles and interacting with ER patients while standing in the middle of a classroom.
The study is being led by assistant professor Angela Pal. During the early days of the pandemic, some students at the College of Nursing were unable to do clinical work in the field with real patients, so the school began looking at virtual options.
Pal is now trying to discover which virtual methods work best.
“We know students love it, but does it actually help us with patient care and patient safety? My hope is that it will,” she said.
The study is in its early phases now, and it will likely be quite some time before students use virtual reality as a regular part of their curriculum.
For now, Newkerk and the others in the study are just happy to be get a little extra practice making potentially lifesaving decisions.
“I think the virtual reality, just taking off that pressure allows you to work in a really comfortable environment, and not be afraid to make mistakes,” she said.