A Discussion of the Use of Virtual Reality for Training Healthcare Practitioners to Recognize Child Protection Issues

Drewett, Olivia; Hann, Gayle; Gillies, Marco; Sher, Carmel; Delacroix, Sylvie; Pan, Xueni; Collingwoode-Williams, Tara and Fertleman, Caroline. 2019. A Discussion of the Use of Virtual Reality for Training Healthcare Practitioners to Recognize Child Protection Issues. Frontiers in Public Health, 7(255), [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Background: Virtual reality technology is a rapidly developing tool which has been shown to have exciting prospects in the field of medical education. In a recent, subsequent study, Pan et al. consider the potential of the same technology in the realm of child protection training and safeguarding issues. To build upon the Pan et al. study, a panel discussion was held at The Centre for Behavior Change Annual Conference 2018 to discuss the question "Can a virtual reality communication scenario be used to teach General Practitioners and trainees how to recognize and manage child protection issues?"

Methodology: The above study comprised an immersive virtual reality consultation, in which the ability of 63 doctors to pick up covert safeguarding cues was tested in the context of a consultation with an adult patient, where the patient's child happened to be present as well. The study and its findings were discussed at the Centre for Behavior Change 4th Annual Conference, and this paper summarizes the opinions of both the panel and the audience.

Viewpoint: Safeguarding is a challenging area of practice where we must listen to the child, and tackle difficult conversations with parents. Within medical training, role play is the gold standard for teaching how to communicate in difficult scenarios. Given the ethical questions surrounding children being asked to role play such abuse, the use of virtual reality characters could have a key role in upgrading current practices in medical education on safeguarding.

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immersive virtual reality, medical training, general practice, medical consultation, child safeguarding

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13 September 2019Published
22 August 2019Accepted

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Date Deposited:

13 Sep 2019 17:28

Last Modified:

09 Jun 2021 18:12

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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