Project title: Designing VR Training in Healthcare: the experiential affordances of immersive (Virtual Reality) simulations in various patient and doctor interactions
 
Director of Studies: Dr Joanne ‘Bob’ Whalley
Other members of the proposed supervisory team: Professor Mike Phillips
Professional partners: Fulldome UK, Labster
 
Project details:
 
How do ‘virtual field trips’ into varied clinical settings prepare doctors for patient interaction? This project would involve a close examination of day to day interactions between doctors and their patients and their simulation in immersive environments to improve the quality of patient care and the training of medical staff. AR/VR/Immersive environments have multiple applications for healthcare, and as the technology progresses, the various capacities for its usefulness surface.
This research would analyse the processes through which innovation occurs, how it can improve training experiences and clinical performance, and how these might be encouraged and supported. The use of clinician focussed VR training introduces a clinical audience to specific concept, scenario or experience, while allowing them a safe space for spontaneous interaction and improvisatory response.
 
Through a participatory design process building of doctor patient experiences it uses the genre of one-to-one performance to explore the proxemics of healthcare interaction. A virtual audience of one allows doctors to expose themselves to gaming simulations to direct and hone different approaches and outcomes. The sharing of these experiences with patient groups could also enhance empathy and encourage a greater dialogue to aid diagnosis and treatment. In these virtual contexts, failure can be explored without the real-world implications for negative patient outcomes.
This project lends itself to those interested in challenging conventional approaches to training and pedagogic practices. Working with academics and professionals experienced across a series of training contexts, applicants should have a good undergraduate degree, and a relevant postgraduate degree, or appropriate professional experience.
 
The studentship begins in October 2017. Successful candidates should expect to develop their own specific research topic within the broader aims of this project.
 
We are looking for applicants who demonstrate:
 
o An understanding of the requirements of a PhD project
o Imagination and resilient approaches to research process
o Proven skill-sets, or a demonstrable ability to acquire those skills necessary to bring a complex project to successful completion
o An ability to engage in collaborative processes
 
For an informal discussion about the studentship, please email lee.miller@plymouth.ac.uk