Virtual patients, real experiences - HCOP session 4
Updated: Oct 29, 2020
In this unprecedented time of social distancing and staying home, there are many things that have easily and seamlessly transitioned to the online sphere. However, one thing I have heard countless students lament is the reduced ability to participate in clinical experiences such as shadowing or volunteering. Naturally, healthcare facilities are limiting all unnecessary visitors to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. For many students who need to gain this experience, this means simply missing out.
Once again, however, technology proves to be an enormous blessing during this time. To ensure our students still have a chance to learn in a clinical setting, the Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP) has teamed up with Body Interact, a virtual patient simulator. This virtual tool allows students to be in the "driver's seat", so to speak, of patient care in an emergency room situation. A patient is presented, and the student must ask questions, perform exams, order testing, and ultimately treat the patient.
The week before session 4, HCOP high school and undergraduate students were able to log into their Body Interact accounts and try the clinical simulator on their own with the assigned case. During the session on October 24th, the students participated in a session with class instructor, Dr. John Stone, MD, PhD. Dr. Stone, an experienced cardiologist, discussed various aspects of patient treatment and led the students through the treatment of the patient. Students were able to ask questions in an open environment, and the discussion was wide-ranging and fruitful.
In a time where so many experiences are put on the back burner, it's refreshing to use the power of technology to continue learning about health professions.