In Washington state, doctors who typically deal with elective surgeries turned to virtual reality (VR) to relearn emergency-response skills they haven’t practiced since medical school. In New York City, homebound nursing students watched online simulations to learn how to properly don personal protective equipment (PPE).
All around the country, both budding and established healthcare professionals pivoted their studies and skills due to COVID-19 — and often, without physically setting foot in traditional classrooms or hospitals.
Cole Sandau, CEO of the VR medical training platform Health Scholars, says his company fielded near-constant requests from health workers seeking educational resources. “Our chief medical officer got a phone call from a colleague who is a rheumatologist,” Sandau recalls. “He said, ‘I haven’t been in a hospital since I finished my residency 25 years ago, and in a few weeks I have to be in an ICU.’”
To help healthcare professionals adapt to this surreal situation and the effects it will have on healthcare going forward, organizations are turning to new and innovative training environments fueled by VR. From training doctors for unfamiliar fieldwork to helping nursing students continue their studies, here are four ways in which companies are helping the medical community learn and train during the crisis and beyond.