Nursing Students Learn New Skills with a Dose of Augmented Reality

 |   Bob Glancy

HoloLens Health

Mention viruses in the same breath as digital technology and your first thought is probably hackers – not headsets.

But at one New Zealand institute, nursing students are combating a different kind of virus, using Microsoft HoloLens to learn how to treat COVID-19.

A program designed for the augmented reality headsets enables students at Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) to experience exactly what it’s like to deal with a real patient suffering from the virus in a completely safe, controlled environment.

Wearing the headsets, students are presented with realistic, three-dimensional holographic patients that allow them to visualise key symptoms and fully interact with the virtual patient – an experience they would never gain from textbooks.

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“Being able to work with holographic patients is actually even better than real life, as it’s safer and provides a much wider range of clinical situations than would otherwise be possible,” said Karyn Madden, Year 2 Programme Manager of SIT’s Bachelor of Nursing.

The technology has now become part of SIT’s long-term curriculum, with many applications beyond COVID-19.

Dimi Mardas, Education Industry Manager for Microsoft New Zealand, is delighted with how valuable SIT students are finding HoloLens technology.

“SIT is a leader in using augmented reality in New Zealand education, and we are thrilled with the successes they are seeing. It means that students no longer need to be in specific settings in order to gain hands-on experience, so far more people can access the skills they need. We’re looking forward to working with SIT and other education institutions around New Zealand to explore how else we can support learning and skilling using augmented reality.”

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