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Holographic patients help nurses hone assessment skills

Luke Skywalker did it. will.i.am did it. Now, nursing students from the University of Canberra are exploring the use of hologram technology.

Assistant professors of nursing Dr Jane Frost and Lori Delaney, and professor Robert Fitzgerald have introduced the HoloLens into university classrooms. Using inbuilt video cameras, the Microsoft device can scan a room and use the environment to anchor a range of holographic images, videos and interactive elements.

Global education company Pearson provided the university with access to its HoloPatient App, which allows educators to access virtual, standardised patients that can be downloaded and placed in any environment via the HoloLens.

Students with HoloPatient overlay. Photo: Marcus Butler

The combination of technologies allows students to interact with a holographic patient and explore complex scenarios.

Frost said the technology is not a replacement for face-to-face patient interaction, rather it augments what educators are already doing and brings case studies to life.

“By adding in change, you increase the engagement for the students,” Frost said. “They get a new experience.”

Using a holographic patient that displays various symptoms and behaviours allows students to learn assessment and clinical reasoning skills, she added.

“Being able to walk around the hologram and view the patient from 360 degrees gives an added dimension to the experience.

“We believe this new technology has the capacity to engage learners and increase their understanding. Ultimately, it will benefit patient care.”

Nursing Review spoke with Frost about the scenarios students have explored using the technology and its potential future applications.

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