At our core, the OMS team is made up of clinicians and healthcare educators. Like all of our colleagues in these fields we’ve become increasingly concerned by systemic issues in healthcare in being able to produce confident, competent, practice-ready healthcare professionals.
Thankfully, our company mission allows us to be part of the solution. When we were selected to work with the The Big 10 Practice-Ready Nursing Initiative to do just that, we were prepared for the challenge.
Big 10 Practice-Ready Nursing Initiative is a partnership between the University of Minnesota School of Nursing, University of Michigan School of Nursing and Purdue University School of Nursing. The initiative was formed to respond to the issues arising from nurse graduates being unprepared to practice in today’s highly complex and dynamic care environments.
To address these issues, the Big 10 has been exploring the strategies and curriculum integrations that a nursing school can employ to reduce the time their graduates need to onboard into the workplace. Ultimately, the aim is to prevent burnout and turnover in nursing. This initiative is supported by a $1.3 million grant from the American Nurses Foundation.
Enter VR simulation. Using the OMS virtual simulation platform and a VR headset, nursing students will be able to practice caring for multiple patients at once in a safe, risk-free virtual environment. By allowing more time to practice without risking patient safety, the project aims to demonstrate how nursing students’ confidence, competence and readiness for practice can be improved through virtual reality.
Establishing a common goal was the easy part. The next phase of the project meant collaborating closely with the Big 10 to develop cutting edge multi-patient VR scenarios – pushing our platform to brand new heights in the process.
Cindy Bradley PhD, RN, CNE, CHSE, Director of Simulation at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing explains why multi-patient scenarios are so important: “As a caseload of patients increases, how do students learn how to prioritize care? How do they know what to do first and with which patient?”
Additionally, we have worked closely with the teams on the ground at the participating universities to ensure that all the necessary logistics are in place: from setting up VR headsets to ensuring onboarding guides are readily available.
Jannie White BSN, RN, CFRN, VP Client Solutions at OMS, describes how the partnership has come together around a shared vision: “A project like our collaboration with the Big 10 has a lot of moving parts. What has been most inspiring has been seeing how colleagues at OMS and The Big 10 have been galvanized towards a common objective. We knew going into this that we were pushing the boundaries of what could be done in VR simulation, and to be able to deliver on that with such success has been truly rewarding.”
At the time of writing, the first two modules of the project have been completed – allowing students to scale up from managing a single patient to juggling two at a time. By the end of the program participants will have access to scenarios that involve managing up to five patients at once.
Bradley explains: “starting with one or two patients [students will work] their way up to a caseload of five. They’ll have more time to practice in a safe space without risking patient safety, while also gaining confidence and competence. Most importantly, they’ll be able to practice decision-making skills”.
The potential impact of the Big 10 and OMS collaboration reaches far further than the students that will be enrolled in the pilot project. Bradley imagines that, “With a headset and an internet connection, students anywhere can have the same learning experiences as students in our program”.
For OMS this project has proven to be symbiotic with our company mission: to improve patient care through increasing access to simulation.
Dr Jack Pottle, Chief Medical Officer at OMS, notes: “We founded OMS to address the global issues of preparing learners for the realities of working in healthcare today. These issues have only become more apparent in recent years. We’re delighted to be partnering with the Big 10 Initiative to further this mission whilst breaking new ground in VR simulation technology by offering true-to-life multi-patient scenarios.”