‘Real Talk’ with EMS Director on Next level Immersive Learning
With the goal of getting EMS students more classroom time without the students physically being in the classroom, Meghan Jaggars, Paramedic Program Director of the Lowcountry Regional EMS Council in Charleston, South Carolina, discovered VRpatients.
“We’re doing a lot of asynchronous and hybrid style learning in our region because we service a large number of counties, and it’s difficult scheduling time for them to drive [to campus]. The idea of doing some type of virtual or augmented reality was something that I was super interested in.”
Jaggars began using VRpatients in August 2022, and in just a few months, is singing the program’s praises.
“I think online learning is the way training is going. Bringing in something like VRpatients where students can incorporate scenario-based learning in a virtual setting and from inside their homes is very important.”Jaggars recently talked with VRpatients about how she uses the program to train her EMS students and what she has learned along the way.
Q: How are you using VRpatients?
A: We use it during our lab time. I have a fairly large class for the size of the facility and the amount of adjuncts that I have. During our lab time, we break the students into groups and some will work on VRpatients while others do high-fidelity simulations with adjuncts.
Students also use VRpatients at home. If they have their own headset, I encourage them to use it, however I love that VRpatients can just run on a computer’s web browser so they’re still able to partake in it that way. It really adds to the number of times they can experience a simulation.
Q: What were you most excited about when you began using VRpatients?
A: VRpatients is focused on EMS. A lot of the other VR platforms that we saw were more geared towards in-facility and not so much the out-of-facility environment.
Having students coming into a simulated space that isn’t inside a clinic makes a difference. You have to dig a little bit deeper and take in a lot of context clues and I like that the VRpatients platform does a good job of incorporating the unknown into scenarios.
We can do our best simulation with high fidelity manikins in the classroom and there’s always an element of pretend. VRpatients does a nice job of fully submerging students in that reality.
Q: What was your biggest surprise when you began using VRpatients?
A: The graphics surprise me every time. I can adjust certain things on the back end as the administrator and then watch it play out in the scenario. It blows my mind that computers can do that.
Q: What was the learning curve like when you started using VRpatients?
A: Whenever you get something new and shiny, you want to try it, so you log in and you look at everything. I was like, there’s no way I’m going be able to learn this and I’m pretty good with computers.
Soon, it started to come more naturally because [the onboarding process] walks you through how to use the software from the beginning to the end, so no mater where you’re falling in that spectrum of comfort with the platform, you’re still able to utilize it.
It’s progressively taking me less and less time and that’s because [the onboarding] gave me a good foundation of understanding what I was doing in the platform and why it was working the way it was.
I love that VRpatients has a good base of scenarios that are already made. Getting guidance through the whole creation process got me excited about the possibility of what I could build on my own and how tailored I could make the scenarios to meet the needs of my students.
The customer support is also top notch. There is always someone there to answer my questions.
H2: How have the students reacted to using VRpatients?
They were all pretty excited at the idea of using it because it’s like a video game. I have every generational makeup in my current class with my oldest student in the mid 50s and my youngest is 19, but they were all pretty excited.
Where they got frustrated was you can’t cut corners with VRpatients. They had to do good assessments. They have to do things in a linear fashion and not skip steps, so it forced them to start doing that and honing that skill. Once they got past that frustration, they started loving it.
H2: What advice do you have for other new VRpatients users?
Take it slow and trust the process. Know that you’re going to make mistakes. Our entire field is built learning from the mistakes that we’ve made. The beauty of this platform is if you make a big mistake, you can erase the whole thing and start over again and it’s no harm, no foul.
So be gracious with yourself while you’re learning and know that you can do anything with this platform if you give it time.
VRpatients™ is an immersive virtual reality and web-based sim builder that puts educators in the driver’s seat. Meet your accreditation requirements, build unlimited immersive simulations, and offer distinctive CEs with VRpatients. Sign up for a personalized, 1-hour demo of our EMS platform or our Nurse Educator platform today and start making every day a sim day. For more information, visit our website.