School of Nursing

21st Century Training Comes to SDSU

cool glassesThis spring, the School of Nursing will begin testing a brand-new tool for training nurses. Taking advantage of the increased quality and availability of viritual reality technology, Pearson Education and Microsoft have teamed up to produce a new teaching tool used with Microsoft’s Hololens. SDSU, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and Bryn Mawr College are among the first to explore the power of mixed reality learning content, delivered via Microsoft HoloLens, to immerse students in real world experiences.

HoloLens embraces virtual reality and augmented reality to create a new reality – mixed reality. With virtual reality, the user is immersed in a simulated world. Augmented reality overlays digital information on top of the real world. Mixed reality merges the virtual and physical worlds to create a new reality whereby the two can coexist and interact. By understanding the user’s environment, mixed reality enables holograms to look and sound like they are part of that world. This means learning content can be developed for HoloLens that provides students with real world experiences, allowing them to build proficiency, develop confidence, explore and learn.

Dr. Greiner says that he is very excited about the potential that the Hololens represents. He is very pleased that SDSU was selected to be one of the three beta test sites. He explains that the Hololens system will replace some of the training now done in the Sharp HealthCare Human Simulation Center, and that the simulation center and the Hololens together will result in an entirely new teaching opportunity. He said, “It is a privilege to work with Pearson and Microsoft to develop these educational components for nursing education.”

guy wearing lensesOver the next few months, the faculty and students at the nursing school will collaborate with Pearson and their colleagues at Texas Tech to improve the value and efficacy of the types of simulations in which students participate. They will evaluate the current training scenarios and help design new ones. At the end of the beta test period, SDSU will be able to keep the Hololens system and continue to use this new technology. While the Sharp HealthCare Human Patient Similuation Center has been a wonderful addition to the standard nurse training at SDSU, the complex and expensive equipment has been difficult to keep up-to-date. The Hololens system puts the burden of equipment updates on Microsoft and Pearson, reducing the cost burden on the school. 

The combination of the virtual reality, the ability to see digital data such as the vital signs monitoring equipment used in hospitals, and the ability to also touch the mannequins used in the simulation center will envelop the students completely in to the training scenario presented. The technology will also allow for videoing the student’s performance so that it can be evluatined by the teacher and the student.

To develop the content for this pilot, Pearson will use Microsoft’s holographic video capture capability, filming actors to simulate patients with various health concerns and then transferring that video into holograms for the student nurses to experience in a clinical setting. When student nurses participate in the simulations using HoloLens, they will have a real world experience diagnosing patients, building the confidence and competence that they will need in their careers.