VR (virtual reality) has occupied the minds and hearts of computer games lovers around the world. Moreover, it serves many other industries that need innovative technology for their development and growth. Modern science does not stand still, and healthcare is one of the most developing branches. In this industry VR is put to good use to effectively train future doctors in medical schools.
VR enables students to gain practical experience and see cases with their own eyes: virtual reality simulates surgery and situations involving trauma, it also lets them enter the world of a patient suffering from a disease. Without doubt, VR bridges the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical hands-on experience that is very close to reality. Let’s have a look at how VR helps future doctors master their skills.
Each first-year medical student starts with anatomy. The majority of medical schools tend to teach students on cadavers, but the process is not 100% effective since it is very time-consuming and the material is quite expensive. In addition, cadavers will not show how the body functions, which is very important for every specialist to know.
VR, however, helps to get a three-dimensional picture of what is going on in the human body. Learners can proceed from skin to the bones and back, analyzing every tissue layer as if it were a real body. There is no need to spend hours in laboratories performing anatomical studies on
cadavers when you can easily study in a VR classroom. VR headsets help observe relationships between various organs, muscles and nerves and scale the view even to the microscopic level.
The overwhelming majority of doctors benefit from training with VR.
Medical schools can now simulate a real surgery environment, where students have access to the “real” patient, learn how to use all the instruments and see how every touch affects the
patient’s body. In other words, VR trains psychomotor skills, teaches teamwork and enriches knowledge.
Like surgeons, psychotherapists get an opportunity to go deeper into the human brain with the help of VR applications. Such applications can imitate different traumatic situations and help specialists cope with anxiety disorder and fears faster and more efficiently.
Dental simulators create a 3-D virtual reality and allow future dentists to improve their skills before training on real patients. Students have a virtual patient’s mouth and can perform operations using simulators of real medical instruments. The scenarios show different periodontal procedures, and students can save and replay them anytime they need.
Junior medical staff may also take advantage of VR. Routine work has to be first well-trained so that nurses will perform vital procedures fast and accurately. Injections, bandaging and other minor procedures may be mastered to perfection not only on mannequins and live patients but also with the help of a simulated reality. The programs help to develop skills in state examinations and replay the scenarios over and over again, if needed.
Virtual reality offers an exciting experience of studying the human body without working with real tissues. It is like putting the puzzle pieces together, studying with every single iteration. Using this cutting-edge technology, even practicing doctors can expand their knowledge of the human body and mind, learn how every organ functions and thus treat patients more effectively.
It is also a great opportunity for doctors to get used to the hospital environment before starting their practice, learn how to think on their feet, become more empathic and responsible.
Further research and technology improvements may result in even closer collaboration of virtual reality and healthcare. Besides training, VR also helps to cure patients: it relieves pain, assists in trauma recovery and rehabilitation, allows planning complex surgical interventions, and treats mental disorders and other ailments.