Nursing Project Featured at the Emerging Media Lab Spring Showcase

Associate Professor of Teaching Ash Scott has a passion for technology. He readily admits that he’s not an expert in designing or building technological tools. However, his extensive pedagogical knowledge helps him to conceive innovative ideas for use in the classroom. Bringing those ideas to life is what the Emerging Media Lab (EML) brings to the table. 

Ash Scott presents at the EML Showcase
Ash Scott speaks at EML's 2024 Spring Showcase

EML is an experiential learning space at UBC where faculty, students and staff from all disciplines collaborate with industry and the community, using technology to create tools and techniques to take learning to the next level. Ash recently attended as a panelist at the EML Spring Showcase to support students who have been developing a project on his behalf, in partnership with Dr. Fairleth McCuaig. The panelists at the showcase were from a variety of disciplines, but they were united in their assessment of EML. It not only offers experiential learning to those students who are using emerging media to create and develop technologies – it also benefits the students whose ways of learning are enhanced by those technologies. This is a resource that needs to be scaled up!

The showcase featured a project that Ash, as principal investigator, proposed to the EML: to develop a Virtual Reality Tool for Nurse Practitioner (NP) Students. At the showcase, Ash introduced the problem with a short explanation about Objective Structured Clinical Examinations, or OSCEs. Before they can work as an NP, students who have completed their program must pass a Provincial OSCE so they can register with the BC College of Nurses and Midwives. Ash says,

“We do our best to prepare them for this high-stakes examination by having OSCEs throughout their program, but other than working from a piece of paper and practicing with other students who know the same scenarios, there isn’t a real way for students to have a realistic practice of this type of assessment."

We have virtual reality scenarios, but even though they look realistic, they are highly scripted and the student’s experience is often interrupted by boxes popping up saying ‘I don’t understand what you’re asking. Did you want to say this instead?’

Ash had this problem in mind when the breakthroughs in large language models exploded in the news. He began to wonder if this resource could be leveraged to create a more realistic experience for students preparing for their OSCEs. So, he presented his idea to the EML. 

At the showcase,  Worklearn students Victoria Lim, Jerry Wang and Graydon Strachan, otherwise known as the Nurse Practitioner Virtual Reality Tool Team, gave a brief overview of the project, which began in September of 2023 and is still under development. Their goal was to create a prototype that allows student NPs at UBC to engage in interactive consultations with lifelike virtual patient avatars to prepare for their OSCEs. In fulfillment of that goal, they have created one OSCE scenario which contains the patient brief, examinee instructions, metahuman avatars and the ability to provide results in the form of an OSCE score. To see their impressive project, jump to 48:22 at the link below.

Ash is blown away by the ability of the students in the lab to transform his ideas into reality and is very much looking forward to continuing the Nurse Practitioner VR Tool project. He offers this advice to others who have been fostering an idea—or even if they haven’t. “Really think about how you can interact with the EML. Emerging technologies push the boundaries of what we can do in our classrooms, so don’t let your ideas drop to the back of your mind the way I have always done—create a proposal and submit it to the EML.” You won’t be disappointed.

EML Nurse Practitioner VR Tool Project (Website)

EML Spring Showcase (Youtube)

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