New Equipment and Training Modules Secured Through the Meta x Bodyswaps Education Grant
Wilkes-Barre, Pa.—King’s College occupational therapy students can now better develop essential patient interaction skills through a pilot virtual reality program made possible by the Meta x Bodyswaps Educational Grant.
The College’s occupational therapy program is the only one in the United States and the United Kingdom to win the award. The Meta x Bodyswaps Education Grant Program investigates how students and educators can use the Bodyswaps VR platform to develop interpersonal skills that can foster clear communication and empathy in patient interactions.
The training modules – which are applicable to doctors, nurses, and occupational therapy practitioners – enable students to experience realistic patient interactions by acting out various scenarios in a controlled virtual environment.
“As a result of prolonged isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, occupational therapy instructors are finding more students struggling with the interpersonal skills necessary for proper patient diagnosis and care,” said Marie Patterson, O.T.D, Academic Fieldwork Coordinator and Clinical Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy at King’s. “These problems are more pronounced in students from underserved communities, putting them at greater risk of failing their clinical rotations. We’re eager to explore new innovative and engaging tools that help students strengthen their patient interaction skills and better serve a local community that desperately needs quality healthcare professionals.”
The College first applied for the grant in December 2022. The grant covers two Meta Quest 2 headsets, the Bodyswaps software, training sessions, and three months of support. The College's occupational therapy students are currently closing out the Spring 2023 semester with this virtual training.
The pilot virtual reality program is among several efforts by King’s College to meet an increased demand for qualified health science professionals in Northeastern Pennsylvania and throughout the United States. In April 2022, King’s announced a new Clinical Doctorate in Occupational Therapy (OTD) starting in the Fall 2024 semester, its first doctoral program in the institution's 75-year history. This accelerated program requires six total years of study, six months of clinical fieldwork, and a 14-week doctoral capstone experience that will prepare graduates for careers with national average salaries of approximately $86,000 and anticipated job growth of 17 percent over the decade. For more information on the OTD program, visit https://otd.kings.edu/.
Dr. Patterson teaching OT students Bryanna Nelson and Gunhvir Singh