NP in the News

Learning through gaming

30 Dec 2022

Nursing students take on the role of avatars to manage a patient with drug overdose.  

Final-year nursing students at Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) typically learn how to manage a drug overdose situation in a nursing skills laboratory. 

Recently, however, the students also engaged in a 30-minute immersive virtual simulation to reinforce the skills they learnt in the laboratory. The experience provided them with the opportunity to work collaboratively with one another virtually.

In this multiplayer virtual simulation developed by staff from the School of Health Sciences (HS) and The Centre for Learning & Teaching Excellence (CLTE) at NP, a team of four students, each using their own laptop, took on the role of avatars and learnt how to manage a patient who came into the emergency department with a drug overdose. 

The avatars used the chat function to work together to carry out the doctor’s orders, which included monitoring the patient’s vital signs, taking blood tests and performing the three-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) and gastric lavage. An ECG records electrical signals from the heart to check for heart conditions while a gastric lavage, or stomach pumping, flushes out toxic contents from the stomach. 

As the students carried out their tasks, they had to answer questions along the way. Each time they completed a task, they received a digital certificate of recognition.

Each time the students complete a task, for instance, on ECG or gastric lavage, they receive a certificate of completion.

Ms Pan Donghong, a lecturer from the School of Health Sciences, said: “Generally, students do not have a lot of opportunity for hands-on experience as drug overdose is not common in hospital wards. This multiplayer game allows students to reinforce their learning in the skills laboratory.”

In the skills laboratory, the lecturer would demonstrate to the students how to perform an ECG and gastric lavage on a human model and they would do a return demonstration during a two-hour practical session.  

Third-year nursing student Woo Khai Yuan found the collaborative part of the game especially helpful.

“Unlike some other apps, this simulation allowed us to learn how to work together as a team, where we could discuss how to split the workload and complete our tasks more efficiently,” he said. 

The multiplayer virtual simulation is one of the latest tool that HS has adopted to enhance students’ learning. The school has been actively exploring the latest innovative educational technology such as virtual simulation, gamification, as well as virtual and extended reality in its teaching and learning strategies.