How can nurses train in a new hospital wing before it is constructed? Or after it’s complete and full of patients? For help addressing the situation, hospital officials turned to Ball State University and its emerging media experts. Rather than have the nurses don hardhats and run training seminars amidst saws and hammers, Ball State’s Institute for Digital Intermedia Arts (IDIA) worked to create a virtual training program. The result will allow nurses to interact with the new layout and better adapt t o their new surroundings well before the physical construction is complete.
This could be extremely important in terms of ultimate patient care, as nurses will be adapting to a new facility as well as learning a new patient-based floor design. Rather than having a single nursing station surrounded by many rooms, the wing will have individual nursing stations ensconced between two rooms. “Our interactive training simulation showcases new, more efficient methods for working in a decentralized care unit as opposed to a centralized care unit,” said John Fillwalk, IDIA director. “Switching from a single hub to multiple nursing stations represents a culture shift for nurses, and we were able to help them work through that.”
Using Quest 3D, a virtual reality program, Fillwalk and his team developed “New Spaces, New Care,” a training simulation that works like a computer game, allowing nurses to virtually explore their new environment, sit at their new workstations, view and walk into patients’ rooms, examine charts and access medicine cabinets.
In the weeks prior to the facilities opening, nurses assigned to the South Tower will complete the virtual training. By exploring the new wing before it’s complete, the nurses will be better acquainted the amenities, which once mastered, will give them more time for their patients, Fillwalk said. “By working directly with hospital officials and the nursing staff, we were able to create a program to more quickly acclimate staff members to their new environment and help them focus on the most important component of their jobs — tending to patients,” he added.