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Virtual reality helping Invercargill nursing students to study Covid-19

Even in a virtual world, Covid-19 can exist.

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The technology uses a virtual reality headset to help analyse and treat a potential coronavirus patient. Source: 1 NEWS

Year two nursing students at Invercargill’s Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) have this week been getting to learn more about the infectious disease, thanks to virtual reality.

“It’s bringing realism to the students learning experience. So instead of sitting in a lecture theatre, which is very traditional, and hearing this is what a patient will look like, they’re actually seeing it,” says SIT's head of the School of Nursing, Johanna Rhodes.

The students use virtual reality headsets, helping them to view a patient and their symptoms.

As their condition deteriorates, symptoms like oxygen levels drop.

“For me personally, reading it out of a textbook I can learn, but it doesn’t put it into perspective the same way. Whereas being visual, it’s put it into perspective that I can really make sense of,” year two nursing student Christine Mclean says.

The polytechnic has been using the technology for the last two years, with the ‘Covid-model’ just over a week old.

Similar technology is also being used overseas, with doctors in the UK using virtual reality to diagnose patients without coming into close contact.

Of course, with all technology there have been a few glitches, such as the patient being hard to locate on screen.

“Mine's been on the wall, on the roof and on the floor today. I just can’t make it stay in the right place,” jokes year two nursing student Taris Gilder.

With the pandemic still ongoing, the technology is now set to become part of the curriculum long term.