Clinical Simulation offers OB emergency VR experiences

Published by Frank Ruggiero on

Two women in medical scrubs and jackets wearing virtual reality headsets and participating in a VR simulation with a female simulation technician in the background
OB/GYN resident Adriana Tilton (foreground) participates in a virtual reality session simulating obstetric emergencies.

When it comes to learning, UAB Clinical Simulation offers courses for virtually any practice.

Through Clin Sim’s virtual reality (VR) offerings, members of the health-care team can simply put on a headset and immerse themselves in learning like never before.

Obstetrics is one of Clinical Simulation’s newer VR offerings, allowing members of the obstetric health-care team the opportunity to practice managing high-stakes clinical scenarios in a lower-stakes environment.

Jenna Stanford, a third-year post-grade OB/GYN resident, participated in a session this past April, during which members of the Clinical Simulation team visited UAB Hospital’s Women & Infants Center with all the necessary VR equipment, including Meta Quest 2 headsets. 

“It was really helpful, because I think there were some experiences we don’t see very often, which is fortunate, but we still need to be able to respond to those in a pretty systematic fashion,” Stanford said. “So, being able to walk through those scenarios is a very good thing. It’s much different reading about it than having someone in front of you, even if they’re virtual.”

And according to Andres Viles, UAB Clinical Simulation’s director of immersive simulation, that’s one of VR simulation’s many benefits.

“It provides a unique opportunity to increase comfort levels in managing high-stakes OB/GYN emergencies by practicing a safe environment,” he said. “Another benefit of VR is that learners are able to try it again, whereas in a traditional simulation experience, they may only be able to stay for one session. Further, we can offer this immersive experience outside of the simulation lab.”

Ayodeji Sanusi, M.D., assistant professor of maternal fetal medicine in UAB Heersink School of Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, agrees.

“Obstetric emergencies often have significant health implications for both patients and their pregnancies,” Sanusi said. “While in-person group drills are well implemented regularly here at UAB, VR simulations as an adjunct may help to improve knowledge and skill retention by individualizing the learning, providing immediate feedback and objective measures to track progress. 

“In addition, for rare obstetric emergencies, it helps provide training that otherwise would not be feasible to provide in person. We hope that this, in combination with our well established in-person simulation trainings, will improve the quality of training for our residents, fellows and faculty and patient outcomes.”

The sessions were developed at the request of OB/GYN faculty members, Viles said, noting that the exercises have proven so effective that faculty has committed to including them in the OB/GYN curriculum, even considering offering VR experiences twice a year in spring and fall.

Adriana Tilton, a second-year OB/GYN resident, is glad to see it. April’s session marked her second time with the VR module, which she said proved helpful in navigating the scenarios. 

“I felt it was kind of more helpful this time around, because I’ve learned more in my second year,” she said. “Revisiting these scenarios throughout your training is incredibly helpful practice—especially in your early years.”

“We are excited about our experience so far with the VR simulation,” Sanusi added. “Scheduling and organization have been excellent, and we’ve had great support from the UAB Clinical Simulation team. We look forward to adapting the simulations to align with our current protocols and the opportunity to develop more obstetric VR simulations.”

To learn more about UAB Clinical Simulation’s VR offerings, visit here.


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *