Fisher to Add 3D Technology to New Nursing Curriculum

January 30, 2023

The Wegmans School of Nursing at St. John Fisher University will pilot immersive 3D learning within its nursing curriculum, thanks to a $500,000 grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation.

This is the second round of funding that the School of Nursing has received from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation to advance experiential learning within the curriculum. In 2022, a grant from Mother Cabrini made possible the construction of the new Interprofessional Education Simulation Center (IPE SIM Center), a collaboration between the School of Nursing and Wegmans School of Pharmacy.

The 3D learning technology is designed to enhance student understanding of the social determinants of health for vulnerable populations. A recent Community Health Needs Assessment for Monroe County revealed that vulnerable populations are experiencing worsening overall health following the pandemic, pointing to a need for health care professionals to be acutely attuned to how the social determinants of health can impact patients, said Dr. Tricia Gatlin, dean of the School of Nursing.

“Now more than ever, it is critical for nurses to have exposure to the role social, economic, and physical environments, as well as education and health care access, play in the health of their patients,” Gatlin explained. “With this new training, our graduates will be fully prepared to provide the highest quality of care to their patients.”

Immersive 3D learning provides a controlled, augmented reality where students can experience treating a “patient” in environments where different conditions may affect their health, functioning, and quality of life. It offers dynamic real-time interaction and decision-making, immediate instructor feedback, and learning reintegration with a fresh awareness.

“Immersive 3D learning is at the cutting-edge of health care education and supports today’s students, who require a repetition of engagement across a variety of platforms,” said Dr. Joanne Weinschreider, director of experiential learning for the School.

The new technology will be used in a redesigned classroom within the School of Nursing; the space will feature modular, flexible furniture and virtual reality and augmented reality technology to create interactive learning experiences for students.

This pilot includes training nursing faculty and staff to support classroom 3D learning pedagogies; establishing a community-based focus group to aid in the development of case studies and evaluation tools; and adapting an under-utilized computer lab to support 3D learning. The immersive 3D learning experiences will launch in junior and senior-level nursing courses during the 2023-2024 academic year.