Journal article

Using Second Life for health professional learning: informing multidisciplinary understanding

Vocational education and training Technology Creative workforce Medicine Information technology Information technology Australia

Abstract: The pressures of working in contemporary health care environments can result in health professionals becoming focussed on their own domain. This focus, while understandable, diminishes the ability to provide holistic care for patients and clients. This multidisciplinary project sought to introduce post graduate students to the work of three other disciplines and provided them with an opportunity to develop their communication and history taking skills in the virtual world of Second Life. The participating disciplines included: Midwifery, Mental Health, Medical Radiations and Chiropractic. Methods: Four cohorts of Post Graduate students (n=210) participated in the project through a Course in their own Program. A stand-alone program area was set up on the website which was accessible to the four disciplines. A polyclinic was developed in a Second Life island, with each discipline having its own clinic room. Students were required to undertake a pre and post survey to measure their perspective of working with other disciplines; introduce their own discipline and write up what they have learned about the other disciplines, undertake and record an intra-disciplinary role play and finally, reflect on their learning. Findings: students reported that working in Second Life provided them with an opportunity to practice their communication skills in a fun and non-threatening way. As the role play formed part of their assessment, many students found the process to be on a par with the work that would be required to develop an essay or other written assignment. Conclusion: Second Life provides students with an opportunity to develop communication skills and their understanding of other disciplines.

Authors: Jennifer P James, Phillip Maude, Jenny Sim, Marcus McDonald, RMIT University

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