VR Surgical Technology was Developed to Continue Hands-On Student Training During Pandemic
(Lake Charles) – To ensure college students continue to receive essential hands-on surgical training during the COVID-19 pandemic, SOWELA’s Jennings campus is offering new groundbreaking technology and virtual reality components to its surgical technology students. Currently, the surgical technology program has 30 students enrolled.
The PeriopSim® and PeriopSim® Virtual Reality (VR) simulation training systems combine specialty instrumentation lessons with associated procedure lessons. All lessons are based on learning sharp instrument safety and lessons that are relevant to procedures students will perform in the operating room. SOWELA is the first college in the state to make available to surgical technology students the new PeriopSim® and the PeriOp Sim Experiences using the innovative VR technology application as a viable option to provide training opportunities.
Both PeriopSim® and PeriopSim® VR were originally designed for healthcare professionals in the hospital setting to learn surgical instruments and procedures. The state-of-the art modules are also used to train current surgical staff professional as well as orient new staff faster, more consistently, and with no risk to patient safety. However, the programs were quickly adapted to train the students of the surgical technology at SOWELA and across the country due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The technology uses video of actual procedure playback on the operating room monitor coupled with voice prompts guiding learners and teaching the difficult skills of coordination and anticipation along with these vital guides for many surgical specialties. Students are scored in real-time on their performances with identifying, orientating, selecting and anticipating the correct instrument at every step of the procedure. Students’ overall scores are affected in real time as their performance time decreases and mistakes increase. With the addition of the technology last summer, SOWELA students were able to retain their skill sets and graduate on time due in part to the PeriopSim VR experiences providing in-person learning alternatives.
“With the new PeriopSim simulation training, SOWELA students can use the 2D computer system from any location across multiple platforms and technology, including Apple, Android, and Windows, they may already have at home, so students aren’t isolated to on campus learning. This allows them to take the OR environment to their homes and learn when their lives and schedules allow it,” said SOWELA Surgical Technology Program Coordinator Amy Broussard. “This system will continue to improve and help students retain their surgical specialty, didactic knowledge well after the course topic is over. With the new technology, SOWELA Surgical Technology faculty can identify any areas of learning and knowledge deficiency before students take any certification exams and, most importantly, before they enter a clinical site for the workforce.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, surgical technology jobs are expected to grow 7% between now and 2029 at a higher-than-average rate compared to other industries.
“SOWELA constantly strives to implement the latest technology in order to ensure our students are well prepared when they enter the workforce. This new training system will provide the means for the Surgical Technology students to learn critical skills that help them become successful employees in the growing healthcare industry,” said SOWELA Chancellor Dr. Neil Aspinwall.
About SOWELA Technical Community College
SOWELA Technical Community College provides traditional, distance, and lifelong learning experiences and awards associate degrees, technical diplomas, and certificates. The College empowers learners in career and technical education and enables transfer students to pursue a four-year degree, so all learners excel as globally competitive citizens. The College has been educating the region’s workforce for 80 years. For more information, visit www.sowela.edu.