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VR training shifts paradigm in aggression handling


Healthcare professionals often face challenging scenarios involving the risk of verbal and physical abuse.

Edith Cowan University (ECU) has introduced an award-winning innovation that places nurses at the centre of such situations, offering immersive training in de-escalating aggression through a virtual reality (VR) experience.

The project, named IVADE, secured the Innovating Government category win at the prestigious INCITE Awards, Western Australia’s longest-standing tech recognition program.

IVADE’s immersive computer simulation empowers nurses and nursing students to practice decision-making when confronted with an agitated patient. The program presents a virtual patient, Derek, and offers various response options. These choices lead to six potential outcomes, from Derek calming down to escalating anger with explicit language and physical aggression.

Participants can either wear virtual reality goggles or play via a desktop computer.

Students from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts lend authenticity to the virtual experience through motion capture technology.

Josh Johnson, a PhD candidate from ECU’s Simulation and Immersive Digital Technology Group, highlighted IVADE’s efficacy in providing practical de-escalation training. He emphasised that combining theoretical knowledge with immersive practice makes the training more engaging and effective.

“Being immersive through a virtual reality platform, it is an engaging way to deliver de-escalation training; during trials, people were so immersed that when Derek would physically lash out, people would instinctively move to avoid the blow,” Johnson said.

IVADE’s adaptability extends beyond healthcare. While initially designed for healthcare settings, its flexibility permits seamless application in other industries, such as hospitality, retail, and social work, where challenging interactions with the public occur.

Johnson said, “Simulations such as these aren’t just more engaging than traditional training methods, such as workshops or role-playing, they are also more easily adapted across other industries.”

The success and acclaim garnered by IVADE, showcased at conferences and events, highlights its potential to revolutionise training and adaptability across various sectors.

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Ritchelle is a Content Producer for Healthcare Channel, Australia’s premier resource of information for healthcare.


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