Augmented and virtual reality are making waves in a number of different industries, from boosting productivity in construction, to making training more realistic to firefighters, to allowing musicians to practice their sets in a socially distanced environment. The only list longer than industries that are implementing augmented reality is the list of areas that have yet to try the technologies.
The possibilities are endless, across all industries, and here are a few ways they make life easier for nurses, especially during training practices.
In short, augmented reality (AR) is adding digital elements to the world that already exists around us. A common example would be phone applications that make us look like we have sunglasses on. Virtual reality is often used in the same breath as augmented reality, but virtual reality is a complete sensational overtaking that does not use the surrounding that are actually around us.
AR does not have to be strictly visual, and even voice changing technology is an example of an audio augmentation. For most professional practical uses of augmented reality, both visual and audio aspects are utilized, including in nursing.
The uses in healthcare are aplenty, and the industry is expected to grow rapidly over the next decade. Some examples where AR has already been incorporated with healthcare is in rehabilitation, both physical and mental. For physical rehabs, machines can create augmented realities that allow rehab patients to do tasks like walk up steps or even perform athletics in an enclosed environment.
For mental health patients, augmented reality has many uses, but PTSD has really taken large leaps thanks to the technology. Victims can face their fears in a diluted state, and with the technology slowly but surely add to the experience without overwhelming the participant.
… in Nurse Training
Where it has already been implemented, most reports are very positive regarding AR in nurse training. Though still a new trend, it’s pretty easy to take your own experiences with a nurse and imagine yourself as a digital patient. This is the long and short of augmented reality in nurse training, but the question is asked, “When is AR too far from the real thing to consider it ample training?” Some think it should be limited to every day procedures, and others think emergency room nurses can even improve their crafts by working in augmented situations with digital patients.
… Future Possibilities
Smart glasses are amazing tools that could also serve many different industries. In nursing, however, they could provide real-time information on how to deal with a given ailment. They are something like out of a James Bond movie, but very sensible when it comes to nursing. The glasses can augment situations and show nurses different outcomes for different procedures when dealing with a given patient. If programmed correctly, smart glasses could save a lot of lives.
As far as training for nurses, it’s kind of in a “clinical trials” phase right now and the level to which the technology grows remains to be seen. The evolution of augmented reality in other sectors has made it popular in healthcare, and keeping an eye on it’s popularity abound may dictate its use in the nurse training industry.