Virtual Pulse: meeting the challenges faced with traditional nursing training during a pandemic

Led by the TTA Technology Training Associates and in partnership with the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) as the academic lead, the Virtual Pulse project has made the top sixteen list of projects funded by the Digital Technology Supercluster’s COVID-19 program, a $60 million investment to support projects and initiatives that tackle the myriad of challenges Canada is facing due to the pandemic.

In partnership with Unity Technologies, Animism Studios, and CAE Healthcare, the investment supports Canada’s Plan to Mobilize Industry to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. As a member of the COVID-19 Program, BCIT’s Virtual Pulse project will receive $2.2 million from the Digital Technology Supercluster to support the project in protecting and preparing nurses across Canada through virtual COVID-19 training. Virtual Pulse is a digital training platform that brings together an extended reality training tool by using web and virtual reality modules. In a time when physical distancing and infection-prevention measures are strictly enforced, a digital training platform makes it possible for current and returning healthcare providers to safely upskill from anywhere at anytime.

Virtual Pulse’s simulations will recreate real-life clinical situations that helps healthcare professionals develop clinical reasoning abilities required to meet patients’ health needs. The simulation also offers knowledge to intervene in a variety of scenarios, reduce errors, improve patient safety, and deliver quality care.

“Fighting the COVID-19 pandemic requires a global effort. BCIT’s involvement in the Virtual Pulse project will support Canadian healthcare professionals in acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to safely care for patients as the standard of care evolves during the pandemic,” said Kathy Kinloch, President, BCIT. “Our thanks to the Government of Canada and our industry partners for their collaboration and contribution in supporting our healthcare workers who continue to exemplify remarkable commitment and compassion in serving our community during this challenging time.”

“Animism is excited to be a partner in this project. We believe that education and training need to be a key component to our society’s successful response to COVID-19 and to be able to contribute to this project is an honour,” said Stephen Kelloway, Co-Founder and CEO, Animism Studios.

BCIT is a leading contributor of nurses and applied health professionals within the BC healthcare system. This, partnered with the Institute’s expertise and insight on Virtual Pulse, will ensure that students receive cutting-edge training that engages healthcare professionals in building a broad and relevant spectrum of skills to safely care for patients as the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly evolves.

While the primary target of the Virtual Pulse modules is nurse training, next steps will be adapting appropriate skills, such as infection control, for use in training home-care workers and nurses, and even essential workers in other areas such as meat packing and grocery stores. This will help prepare professionals and the healthcare system at large for a second wave or future pandemic.

Learn more about Virtual Pulse or see the full list of projects in the COVID-19 Program.

About the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT)

For more than 50 years, the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) has been training the experts, innovators, and professionals who shape our economy – across BC and around the world. With five campuses and over 50,000 students enrolled each year, BCIT is one of BC’s largest post-secondary institutes. Through our unique applied education model, students gain the technical skills, real-world experience, and problem-solving ability needed to embrace complexity and lead innovation in a rapidly changing workforce. The BCIT curriculum is developed through close consultation with industry and delivered by instructors who have direct, hands-on experience in their fields.

About the COVID-19 Program

The COVID-19 Program aims to improve the health and safety of Canadians and support Canada’s ability to address issues created by the COVID-19 outbreak. In addition, the program will build expertise and capacity to anticipate and address issues that may arise in future health crises, from healthcare to a return to work and community. More information can be found here.

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