A few weeks ago we outlined how South Dakota State University was adopting Second Life as a virtual medical training simulator.
Now The Metaverse Journal reports that Second Life is finding a new life as an educational tool for midwifing and child delivery.
From the article:
The birthing unit is so much better than most in existence in the real
world. As a Registered Nurse (but not a midwife), I’ve witnessed half a
dozen births and even from that limited perspective I can totally
appreciate how much better a birthing environment Te Wāhi Whānau
is compared to even the better hospital-based birthing units.
clinical simulation for midwives, I can see its power as a key adjunct
to lab-based learning and practicums.
Read on to find out why Second Life is getting into the business of birthing babies, and why this is good for the quality of medical care nationwide.
The fine Second Life blog Second Life Education in New Zealand has done a lot of work shedding light on the role of Second Life as a simulator for childbirthing. Their reporting on a forthcoming educational machinima – a film made entirely in Second Life – targeted to educational institutions like Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology, is linked above.
So, what are the real-world implications of virtual midwifing?
Second Life allows medical students specializing in child delivery to practice in a virtual arena with other real human beings in addition to the necessary in-hospital experience. Increased training correlates to a smaller error rate – in this case, a virtual training system yields real results in the form of fewer delivery complications.
Virtual nursing training is a growing field, as Norfolk State University's $2.1 million development grant from the U.S. Army Medical Research Command shows. And what is the goal of this "virtual interface"? According to the grant announcement:
The simulation tool is expected to create a realistic, safe, repeatable
training scenario that will help train nurses and other health care
As we've seen from cases like Norfolk State University and South Dakota State University's med student training environments, the benefits of virtual training are real enough to spur large-scale academic investment in Second Life as a learning tool.
The educational film mentioned above is the project of Pooky Amsterdam, a good friend of this blog and a well-known Second Life filmmaker directing her considerable virtual talents into improving the real world. She sees the film as being especially useful to staff wishing to bone-up on their delivery skills when they may not be in the vicinity of an expectant mother.
To learn more about virtual midwifing and to watch a six-minute version of Pooky's educational video, check out Metaverse Health, another great policy-oriented blog that tracks the health-related uses of virtual worlds.