The future is bright, and Professor Bruce Nixon of Mt. San Antonio College’s Psychiatric Technician Program has been a leader in introducing exciting changes to his department. Nixon was involved in all aspects of the implementation of their new virtual reality program – from conceptualization to meetings with vendors who worked on the technical aspects of the project, filming, post-production (content related ) and finally , test. The goal of the new Mt. SAC program is to provide students with the opportunity to safely practice their clinical skills before entering the actual clinical environment. This is a true hand tracking approach that simulates a clinical environment in a mental health setting.
In an interview with Nixon, he highlights the impact this had on his students. “Students had multiple opportunities to practice the skill sets that were used in the scenario, and debriefing sessions were used to give students not only the correct answers, but also the rationale for them. students had fun practicing their skills in a safe (and fun) way.”
The basic configuration is as follows: students put on a virtual reality headset and select a scenario. A customer appears on screen and makes a verbal statement or provides non-verbal behavioral cues. Some potential answers appear on the screen. A different video will be triggered depending on the answer selected. Students can get back on track, or if they don’t, the program eventually ends.
“We are developing more scenarios (suicide risk assessment, medication side effects, de-escalation techniques, etc.). Discussions have begun about developing interactive scenarios across disciplines, such as a paramedic student teaming up with a registered nursing student to work as a team, each using the skills they learn in their respective programs, to complete a scenario,” Nixon said.
“We are also discussing how the program could be used as a college training device, as a scenario where someone who has a lot of face-to-face interaction with the general public could learn some basic de-escalation techniques. . .”
– Professor Bruce Nixon
The future of virtual reality is going to be huge, and it’s a great way to interconnect didactic concepts with clinical skills in a safe and fun way.