Paramedic 360-degree virtual reality is a new area of interest that I am currently involved with. Whilst virtual reality is not a new phenomenon, its use and application is still being fully explored. For this reason, we are currently in the process of researching the utility and experience of using a 360-degree image as part of a scene analysis for Paramedics. This forms the first step in what we hope to be a long term project that we hope will not only provide an authentic experience to Paramedic practice but also one that enhances the critical analysis for the novice student practitioner.
Stu Cookie and I decided to research the initial scene orientation by providing a 60 second 360-degree image with hidden hotspots within the Seekbeak online platform. The idea is to investigate if qualification, experience or prior 360-degree use influences the amount of information thought to be of importance within the image/scene. An example of this would be the person partially hidden behind a door, or the exposed wires near to the water supply. In the ‘real world’ we take this for granted and recognise this risk instinctively, but within a University education environment is is difficult to provide the flexibility and range of information that may be noted within scene. With paramedics being exposed to almost every imaginable environment we wanted to see if virtual reality would help.
This was our first foray into true research and one that if I have to be honest I had not put too much thought into. By nature, Paramedics are a group that are trained to adapt, trained to react to changing circumstances and most importantly trained to wing it! So we decided to get ethics, recruit and jump in feet first with what we thought as novel researchers would be a very straight forward project of asking questions and collecting data. For most part this seemed to be working well and we had a brief conversation with ‘Dr T’ who said little but kept a keen eye on our initial set-up. To put this into context ‘Dr T’ is an experience researcher with many publications under his belt. Anyway, ‘Dr T’ gave little away by way of guidance other than, “don’t worry too much, you will have today to learn from your mistakes”. Not really what I expected, but it was almost a red rag to the bull. My initial reaction was that “Mistakes? ..I will show you” and I told Stu that we would have to be vigilant and we will not make any mistakes.
After many weeks of research and data collection and several weeks of talking Stu and I had given ourselves a pat on the back and it was now time to pull the data and analyse. I sat down on my computer and loaded the seekbeak application and………..it was all missing, gone, vamoose? What we didn’t cater for was the fact that the seekbeak application only held the data for a maximun of three months and we had tried to retrieve this at three months and two days. With ‘Dr T’s words ringing in my ears we decided to contact the Seekbeak company and ask, beg, pay for the data if need be. Not out of spite of Dr T’s words but out of pure embarrassment! Luckily, we have been using this package for some time and we had made a good connection with the CEO of Seekbeak and he was kind enough to delve into his system and retrieve the data set. Phew!
So today is the first time I have discussed this small “mistake” and yes Dr T was correct, we will learn from our mistakes and I certainly have. So thank you Dr T and thank you Seekbeak, our research is back on track and you will both be the first to view the results.