News, NHS trust

Pilot scheme trials VR training for medical students at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals

A pilot scheme at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH) has trialled the use of VR training for medical students, using a computer-generated scenario in which participants can virtually interact with patients, administer tests, ask patients questions, interact with other medical professionals, diagnose and provide medication.

The VR pilot makes use of the Meta Oculus Quest 2 VR headset and Oxford Medical Simulation software, to enable the tracking of participant’s physical movements; the headset connected to a television to allow those in attendance to watch as the scenario unfolds. The pilot saw final year medical students undertake a 15-minute scenario followed by a debrief, with the simulation software providing a percentage score as the scenario ends to help the students understand how they performed.

Professor Sam Debbage, director of education and research at DBTH, said: “Virtual reality is such an exciting prospect that we are exploring here at DBTH, being able to allow our learners to explore real-life scenarios without risk to patients allowing them to build confidence in approaching a range of scenarios. The trust has a long way to go when it comes to perfecting this type of training, but the opportunity of continuing to expand our learning environments is critical to give our learners a well-rounded approach to patient care.”

She added that there are more than 200 scenarios that can be explored through the Oxford Medical Simulation, including emergency scenarios, paediatrics, and bedside procedures, and shared that the trust is looking into how it can “carry this training forward to help advance technology-enhanced learning”.

In a recent news in brief, we looked at the launch of NHS Blood and Transplant’s virtual reality training app designed to simulate the process of testing blood for transfusions.

Also on VR, North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust is running a pilot project that sees virtual reality technology used to support staff wellbeing, in partnership with Phase Space VR.