Dawn Mangine

    With the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down schools and classrooms, teachers are scrambling to continue to teach students. Some institutions of higher learning may have been ready to switch to a completely remote learning model, but they are likely in the minority of programs.

    Especially in nursing schools and other healthcare education programs, where simulation accounts for a percentage of the curriculum, a distance learning model is challenging. One of the goals of simulation, after all, is for students to learn hands-on patient care with little risk. Through the use of manikins, simulators, and simulated participants, nursing students gained knowledge about treating patients.

    Technology companies, however, are stepping to the fore to help institutions accommodate students. And with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, schools have the opportunity to apply for funding to help them enhance their remote learning efforts.

    “Section 18004(c) of the CARES Act allows your institution to use up to one-half of the total funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) to cover any costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus.”

    Institutions are being encouraged to apply to the CARES Act from the Department of Education, which has made $6.3 billion available to provide financial aid grants, expand remote learning programs, build IT infrastructure to support those programs, and educate faculty to operate effectively in remote learning environments.

    Many simulation technology companies are attempting to create and deploy platforms that help learners feel immersed in a scenario, even in the absence of a hands-on experience. Through virtual reality (VR), web-based platforms, and online scenarios with telehealth capabilities many simulation technology companies are innovating to support student scenarios.

    Remote Learning Resources

    Pocket Nurse® has put together an informational webpage about several of these innovative companies: SimVS Online, VRpatients, and SimEMR with Virtual MedsManager. Just as with traditional simulation activities, these online and VR platforms want to help students learn assessment strategies, think critically, and make decisions under pressure. From pre-hospital training to nursing patient care, each of these platforms are available now for distance learning deployment.

    SimVS Online: The SimVS Hospital Complete simulation system now provides a comprehensive online learning solution that allows instructors to deliver engaging cases and scenarios remotely with all the benefits of our robust and proven platform. The Online system allows faculty and students to easily connect over a secure cloud-based server with two-way interactive communication. Instructors send patient data to learners at a distance to create engaging interactions.

    SimVS featured the world’s first mobile mechanical vent simulator – Ventisim. Ventisim 2.0 continues to innovate and now features a dynamic artificial lung model for extremely realistic function. Ventisim is ideal for teaching ventilation modes, alarm functions and oxygen delivery.

    VRpatients™: With VRpatients, students can remotely interview, assess, diagnose and treat patients in real time. Educators can remotely assess students' critical thinking skills and competency. VRpatients is available to use online, featuring lifelike patient modeling, realistic moulage and animations presenting in living environments, an intuitive medical case authoring tool, a robust physiological engine with case logic, and more.

    SimEMR® by KbPort: SimEMR® and its companion tool, Virtual MedsManager™, can enable institutions to continue to educate learners on patient charting, general clinical care and assessment, and medication administration without requiring physical presence in a lab setting or access to specialized hardware. Virtual MedsManager™ requires SimEMR® for simulated patient information to support student clinical practice of medication administration.