Shenandoah’s Division of Respiratory Care recently collaborated with the Shenandoah Center for Immersive Learning (SCIL) to create a virtual reality (VR) video for students to cultivate empathy for cultural and linguistic disparities in the clinical environment.
“The video is a VR experience from the perspective of a patient who is greeted and assessed by non-English speaking healthcare providers in an emergency situation,” said Assistant Professor of Respiratory Care Ashley Petrolino, MPH, RRT. “The hope is that by placing students in the position of the patient who is in unknown surroundings, the students will better be able to empathize with patients that they interact with, who may also be culturally and/or linguistically diverse.”
Petrolino saw a need for such training through her clinical experience. “I had observed less than adequate care for patients whose cultural and linguistic background was much different from my own,” she said. “I was already a respiratory therapist by that point and I thought, ‘Wow, how would I feel if that was me?’ As an educator, I thought about that situation and thought, ‘How great would it be for our students to contemplate how they might respond?’ We can’t prepare them for every situation, but we can promote and encourage them to respond with, empathy in their everyday practice.”
The video is a fully immersive experience for a student. “I knew the SCIL group had done VR videos as the viewer being a bystander and thought it would be interesting to do it from a first-person viewpoint,” Petrolino said. A Garmin VIRB 360 camera was used for the project, as was a smaller 5.7k 360 camera. The Oculus Rift was used to showcase the video to students during class.
Petrolino and Director of Clinical Education and Assistant Professor of Respiratory Care Melissa Carroll-Wood, MSc, RRT, CSHE, will present the video and their plans for further research at the Virginia Simulation Alliance conference in Roanoke, Virginia, in July.