Paramedic students at St George’s Hospital have been using virtual technology to help prepare them for the real life situations they could face when they qualify.

The Second Life programme is a 3D virtual world where characters can create their own scenarios. The paramedic then arrives on the scene and must assess the situation.

The students use the programme to treat patients by checking a pulse, dressing wounds and administering drugs and must decide whether to take them to hospital and write up medical notes by email which are then handed in to their tutors.

Lecturer Dr Ahmed Younis said that the course, believed to be the first in the country, was a valuable aid allowing students to practise new skills in a safe environment and one in which they could afford to make mistakes while preparing for the real thing.

The e-learning unit now plans to expand Second Life lessons to students on a range of other healthcare courses such as midwifery and physiotherapy.

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