B.C. Children’s Hospital closed two of its eight operating rooms due to nursing shortages this year. Part of the problem stemmed from the amount of time it takes to train nurses and get them up to speed concerning various operating procedures. Training a scrub nurse can take six months to properly gain operating room skills. The Association of Registered Nurses of British Columbia highlighted the strain on nurses, finding as many as 40% leave the profession within ten years, partially due to lack of mentoring stemming from nursing shortages.
Angela Robert, the CEO and founder of Conquer Mobile, a health tech company that specializes in medical education solutions, met with a few people on the cutting edge of integrating virtual reality into health care. Neurosurgeon Dr. David Clarke and neuroscientist Dr. Ryan D’Arcy et al concluded simulation could be a great way to train perioperative nurses and surgery residents. Robert said “they were actually looking for people with video gaming experience.” Robert decided to develop an app and virtual reality that would help train nurses without actually having to get them into the operating room. The key to the app was its usability, something the gaming industry thrives on.
Enter PeriopSim, is now used by over 200 facilities from Vancouver Coastal Health, Fraser Health and the Nova Scotia Health Authority. The app and accompanying full virtual reality version cuts training times in half and simulation training offers the opportunity to prepare nurses before they go into clinical placements.