Tech collaboration between campus departments will enhance nursing education

A collaboration between campus partners using new technology will enhance an observational experience for nursing students.

Ty Rizer, adjunct emerging technologies developer for the IT Innovation and Research team, created an augmented operating room simulation that will be used with HoloLens2 headsets in the Simulation Center's immersive rooms.

When wearing the headset, students will see how different roles, from nurse anesthetist to surgical tech to nurse to first assistant, interact with each other in a sterile environment.

four people in immersive room with OR setting on walls, man in front holding VR headset
Ty Rizer holds a headset in a Simulation Center immersive room. Rizer created an augmented operating room simulation. At left are Julie Goldstein, Katie Branch and Cathy Forslund.
Image credit - Erik Holladay-McCann

Katie Branch, director of simulation, said this operating room immersive experience was needed to offset the demand of nursing students who need to complete operating room observations at Corewell Health.

More than 100 nursing students have enrolled at Grand Valley through recent Corewell Health and Pine Rest Nurse Scholar programs.

Branch called the immersive experience a primer to acquaint students with operating room roles before they go to their in-person observation.

"We wanted to create this simulated experience for them because even at the in-person experience, the actual surgery is all encompassing and students sometimes miss what the other roles are responsible for and how the operating team works together," Branch said.

Ty Rizer shows Sharon Baker the headset in an immersive room
Ty Rizer, left, shows the headset to Sharon Baker, standardized patient program manager.
Image credit - Erik Holladay-McCann
Sharon Baker gets ready to touch the wall, indicating the right answer of four choices in an immersive room augmented simulation
Touchpoints on the walls will call up quiz questions or videos of Corewell Health employees who explain their operating room responsibilities.
Image credit - Erik Holladay-McCann

Rizer said he and other Innovation and Research team members are always looking for collaborations like this that explore emerging technologies to enhance student learning.

After touring the Interprofessional Simulation Center, Rizer used software called Blender to create 3D models of operating room personnel and imported the models into another program called Unity. Students in the immersive room will be prompted by a QR code to put the headset on and view the augmented operating room. 

Branch said touchpoints on the walls will call up videos of Corewell Health employees who explain their operating room responsibilities.

An open house to demonstrate this immersive experience was held July 11 for Kirkhof College of Nursing faculty. Several Corewell Health employees who are Grand Valley alumni attended the event.