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Nursing Education's newest project designed to enhance the educational experience is truly out of this world.No, it is not hooking aliens up to IVs but it is certainly new terrain. UHN Nursing has created real-to-life digital versions of TGH and TWH in Second Life, a popular, virtual world where avatars can explore spaces and interact with each other. Second Life has over 20 million registered members worldwide.
The platform allows educators and nurse leaders to provide role playing simulations within the hospital setting, without disrupting the clinical environment.
"Educators design the learning scenarios and facilitate the role play in Second Life," says Anya Wood, Manager, eLearning Education. "Nurse participants play the role of patients, fellow nurses or any other characters identified in the role play."
Scenarios that learners face include prioritization, dealing with ethical dilemmas and developing strategies to address horizontal violence.
The floors and units are designed to exact site specifications so nursing students become familiar with our actual facilities. The designs are so realistic that the Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation banners on elevators exist in the Second Life world and visitors can actually click on the banners to donate (that part, of course, happens in the real world).
Because the exchanges take place on computers, many other students can watch the scenarios unfold at the same time, and can discuss the outcomes in debrief sessions. Sessions can also be recorded for future use so learning is not limited to real-time.
Speaking at the Second Life launch, Dr. Brian Hodges, Vice-President, Education, UHN, summed up the significance of the project stating that "technology is redefining boundaries, and Nursing Education is carrying the banner at UHN."