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Gaming, Nursing Team Wins National Education Award

A Boise State University team of nursing and gaming professionals has won a national education award for developing a wearable technology that allows nursing students to practice complex simulations with significant cost savings compared to more standard training.

The WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) has bestowed a WCET Outstanding Work (WOW) award to the Boise State development team for their Virtual Reality Nursing Simulation with Custom Haptic System for Patient Safety. The awardees will be recognized during WCET’s 27th annual meeting in Denver, Colorado, Nov. 11-13.

The haptic system is a new, wearable technology that enables a student to see and interact with (touch, hold or grip) objects in the virtual environment, allowing for complex simulations (like catheter insertion) with significant cost savings compared to more standard training on a simulation medical manikin.

The team was led by Anthony Ellertson, director and clinical associate professor of the Games, Interactive Media and Mobile program (GIMM) in conjunction with the College of Innovation and Design and the Division of Research and Economic Development. GIMM is a new undergraduate major formed under the College of Innovation and Design. Its focus is developing cutting-edge mobile and gaming technologies, including the Internet of Things, Virtual and Augmented Reality.

“Using virtual reality in education provides students with opportunities to practice necessary skills in a realistic and low-risk environment,” Ellertson said. “Not only that, projects like this one provide a cost efficient solution for increasing access to medical training for nurses.”

Ellertson, along with Suzan Kardong-Edgren, a nursing and simulation expert, were responsible for the technology’s conception and development. Ann Butt conducted field research to test the technology with students. Amod Damle, Cameron Heikkinen and Sam Blomberg also contributed to the project.