How Mixed Reality Tech is Taking Nursing Studies to the Next Level

First-year nursing student wearing the HoloLens headset

Tuesday, 30 Mar 2021

Toi Ohomai nursing students will have a new way of learning thanks to augmented reality technology.

Nursing students at the Institute are now able to examine different parts of the body and see how they interact with each other thanks to HoloLens mixed reality smart glasses. 

The HoloLens glasses used in conjunction with content from gigxr allows the user to study a virtual human body in 3D. Tutors can create modules for students, which provides them with an opportunity to look at and dissect a particular system and highlight different organs. The students can then control the body and organs, making them tilt, rotate or enlarge. 

HoloLens 2 has been available in New Zealand for the past two years, and this year’s intake of nursing students will be the first at Toi Ohomai to utilise the technology.  

Bachelor of Nursing tutor Dr Philip Lopez says HoloLens will be an “interesting and fascinating addition” to the tools used in teaching. 

“It will really complement the students’ theoretical learning,” he says. 

“They’ll get hands-on experience rather than just reading books or seeing pictures in books.” 

Philip says he’s excited about using the HoloLens as an additional learning tool and that it will give the students real-life experience in examining a human body, but in the safety and comfort of the classroom environment. 

He also has plans to help his students treat the HoloLens models as real patients rather than virtual reality. 

“We want the students to develop a human touch. We don’t want them to then go into a real situation and treat it like virtual reality. “I believe as a teacher, we should be catering for the holistic development of our students – cognitive, psychomotor, and affective.”

After using the HoloLens for the first time, first-year nursing student Baylee Earle says it felt very real.

“It’s going to be really helpful as we continue with our studies,” she says. 

“It just helps you visualise everything and learn where things are and how they’re connected.”

Fellow student Hannah Gimblett says using the HoloLens could take a bit to get used to, but was excited about the opportunities it presented. 

“I think it will just really help us to get a better picture of how the human body works.” 

Toi Ohomai Education Technology Advisor Jonathan Adams says HoloLens can be used across a range of courses, in addition to healthcare. 

“This technology gives us the ability to create training guides in 3D that can be used on campus, or even onto employer sites for work-based learning. As an example, we can bring a house design to a site and display full size using industry-standard files. Students would be able to walk through and see where pipes and cabling go and how it all connects. 

“It can be used in many of our programmes here including construction, engineering, horticulture and healthcare.”   

Check out our students using the Hololens technology.

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