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Virtual patient project awarded a prize at world congress

Elenita Forsberg and Kristina Ziegert of Halmstad University were recently awarded the prize for the best research paper at a world congress in South Africa. The project is about how specialist student nurses can be examined using virtual patients.
Medinfo is a major congress in the field of medicine, health and informatics and is held every three years. This year it was held in Africa for the first time. Roughly 350 research posters from around the world were presented. Of these, the project from Halmstad University received the Best Poster Award.

"It feels great. And nice for nurses to be rewarded at a major congress like this," says Elenita Forsberg, lecturer in the School of Social and Health Sciences and course leader on the specialist course for paediatric nurses.

Virtual paediatric patients

The project is about how a computer system with virtual patients can be used in the examination of specialist student nurses.

"The students log in to a website and encounter various paediatric patient cases. The students have to examine, diagnose and propose treatment for various virtual patients. As the teacher, I can then follow the students' reasoning step by step," says Elenita Forsberg.

Study with distance students

The system is called WebSP, Web Based Simulation of Patients, and was developed by Karolinska Institutet. The system has been in use for a while, primarily in medical and dental training around the world. Halmstad University has been involved for three years in a research project to develop the system for specialist nurses.

The prize-winning congress contribution is based on a study conducted last year by Elenita Forsberg under the supervision of Kristina Ziegert, senior lecturer in nursing at Halmstad University, and Uno Fors, professor at Karolinska Institutet. 64 distance students were examined in the WebSP system and everything was documented and evaluated.

Will create a grading model

"It was well received by the students. They thought it was both fun and realistic. The next step is to find a grading model in the system. This time I did every assessment manually but the idea is for this to be possible automatically in part," says Elenita Forsberg.

One of the advantages of the system is that the students encounter many types of patient case in safe conditions.

"This also demonstrates that it is possible to use information technology in educational contexts right up to examination. The refinement here is that the students practise their ability to solve problems in a manner that is close to reality," says Kristina Ziegert.

Text and photo: IDA LÖVSTÅL

Footnote. Kristina Ziegert's and Elenita Forsberg's research poster was designed by Anders Petersson in the Information Department.

Kristina Ziegert and Elenita Forsberg were recently in South Africa at a major congress on medicine, health and informatics. Their project won the Best Poster Award.

Updated 2018-02-21