San Diego (KGTV)- After not being able to complete their graduation hours inside of a hospital or clinic, the Nursing Department at CSU San Marcos turned to technology to give the students the experience they needed. The students are now using virtual reality to finish their studies.
"It's a 3D, immersive experience," says Sheri Biro, Simulation Lead Faculty, with CSUSM School of Nursing.
Although nursing students aren't physically able to work inside of a hospital or clinic, VR helps them with just about everything they need to know.
"Just about anything that the students can do in a real patient care setting, they can do in virtual reality," says Biro.
"You can view the patient's history, the orders, their labs," says nursing student Nicole Newberg. Nicole is a senior at CSUSM. She's had an interest in the medical field since grade school but says COVID has brought some uncertainty.
"It looked a little grim for a while as if we may or may not be able to graduate," says Newberg.
"After the first shut down last March, we had to make some quick decisions," adds Biro.
Normally VR would be used as a refresher to their internship course. At least 75 percent of patient care experience would be in a hospital, but now VR is being used as a teaching session in the nursing program.
"It is a very different kind of experience," says Newberg. "It's not something that we're all very use to, but there is knowledge to take from it."
When the students aren't entering the virtual realm, they're using a mannequin simulation to finish their clinical hours. The department says it's unclear how long it will be until students can get back into the hospitals.
"We entered into this virtual arena more quickly than we would have," says Biro. "So I think if there's any good that has come out of this, is that it kind of forced our hand a little bit, and it's here to stay."