School of Nursing

Nursing Students Love the Microsoft HoloLens

Last year the students and faculty in the School of Nursing began using the Microsoft HoloLens as a way to enhance student’s learning. Because this is new technology, the first step was to join with two other universities to work with Peerson Education to film specific scenarios, as there is a very limited supply of films at this time.

The HoloLens allows students to enter into a 3-D patient simulation. They can walk around the patient to observe, as well as interact with him or her. Because the patient is a computer-generated image, they can observe physical changes in the patient as they work to solve the patient’s condition. This allows students to experience and train in situations that they might not see in their clinical rotations and that cannot be simulated as easily with the physical mannequins in the Sharp HealthCare Human Patient Simulation Lab. The more experience nursing students have with unusual cases, especially emergencies, the better the care they can provide once they are in “the real world”.

Nursing Holo Lens
Student use the HoloLens to view “patients” on the empty beds.

Before investing significant resources into this new technology, the School Of Nursing wanted to know, “Does it work?” Do students who train with the immersive learning simulations learn more than students who do not? Dr. Helina Hoyt, Nursing Program Coordinator at the Imperial Valley campus, set out to answer that question as part of earning her Ph.D. in education. She worked with Sean House in the Information and Technology Services department, who was also studying the impact of using immersive learning and the use of this new technology.

Hoyt created a research project that tested the learning of first, second, and third year nursing students in a case of diagnosing and treating anaphylactic shock. This scenario might be encountered with a patient who had a severe allergy and was exposed to the allergen – a common example would be a child with a peanut allergy who accidently ate a cookie containing peanuts. The chances of a student nurse seeing this actually play out during a clinical rotation is low, so faculty are eager to find new ways to training students to respond quickly and correctly when they encounter such a case.

Nursing HoloLens
What the student sees through the HoloLens. This student is viewing her hand, the simulated patient, and the physical mannequin in the next bed.

The research had students work through a diagnosis and treatment scenario in three ways. The control group read and responded to a written case study, a very traditional teaching method. The second group read the case and watched a film depicting a patient in this situation. The final group used the HoloLens to more fully experience the scenario. After each session, students were tested on their knowledge.

Not surprisingly, the students who only read the case study scored the worst. However, the group that did the best was the group that watched the film, not those who used the HoloLens. Hoyt thinks this is due to two factors. The first is that the students were using the HoloLens for the first time during this research and the novelty of the technology was distracting. All of the students indicated that they really enjoyed the HoloLens experience and none of them indicated any ill effects from doing so. A future study will look at whether learning improves with more familiarity with the HoloLens. The other factor might be the lack of additional data during the simulation. Students wanted to see vital signs for the patients, as well as visual cue as to what was happening with them. Future scenarios are being developed to add that information to the screen, creating an enhanced reality.

The HoloLens and virtual reality simulations are still considered a valuable addition to the nursing curriculum and the school is looking for ways to develop additional scenarios. They are currently exploring collaboration with other schools who are using virtual reality to produce materials for this new technology.


School of Nursing Test Scores Continue to Shine

To become registered nurses, after graduation nursing students need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). So far this year, 99% of the school’s recent graduates have taken and passed the exam. Congratulations to all of our new nurses!


New additions to the Sharp HealthCare Human Patient Simulation Lab

NursingWhile virtual reality scenarios and technology are entering nursing education, patient simulations are still a major part of each nursing student’s experience at SDSU. The lab continues to see heavy use and so new mannequins have been added to replace those that were beyond repair. Ten new mannequins were recently added, including five who were clearly female, rather than the androgynous ones previously being used. The new mannequins are also racially diverse for the first time, adding African American and Hispanic mannequins to the mix.

Development Connection

Because all of our nursing classes use the Patient Simulation Lab on a regular basis, the facility sees very heavy use by more than 600 students each year. There is a constant need for new equipment, either to replace worn or outdated equipment or to keep the lab current with what students will encounter in the hospitals where they work. Donations to maintain this facility are always eagerly welcomed. An infant mannequin and privacy curtains are the highest priorities. Please contact any member of the CHHS development team for more information.