Nursing students train with virtual cadavers

Courtesy of the Health Science Department.

As society continues to make strides in science and medicine, California Baptist University is  keeping up with the latest technology and enhancing the learning experience for its students.

Recently, CBU purchased digital cadavers from Anatomage, a company that produces cutting-edge technology. The cadavers are advanced pieces of equipment that can enrich the students’ learning experience.

While digital cadavers are not yet found in most hospitals, they are growing in popularity and beginning to emerge in select physician offices and some schools.

Most patients are unaware of this evolving tool that allows their physicians to practice on dispensable models before executing an evasive procedure on a patient.

Dr. Nathanael Heyman, associate professor of biology, said there are many benefits to using the digital cadavers.

“There are definitely advantages with the virtual cadavers,” Heyman said. “Any dissection mistakes can easily be reversed or repeated, images can easily be saved and distributed and the anatomy is already digitally labeled when that is wanted.”

Heyman said the virtual cadavers are constantly evolving.

“In fact, it is not even a single cadaver, but there are several different cadavers stored on the device and more are being added each year,” Heyman said.

Emily Vierra, seniornursing major, said there were many conveniences to virtual cadavers.

“Using digital cadavers would make our textbooks come to life and provide a deeper understanding of what the human body actually looks like,” Vierra said. “This helps nursing students be able to identify things quicker in a patient-care setting and further their knowledge at a faster pace.”

Most modern technologies have been faced with setbacks and significant loss in revenue because of malfunctioning software, which raises concerns among medical professionals

“While there are advantages to it, it is hard to completely reconstruct three dimensions when using only two,” Heyman said. Vierra said she had concerns, as well.

“Technology can always fail,” Vierra said. “Problems with technology are bound to happen, so there must be someone easily accessible with the knowledge on how to troubleshoot these digital cadavers,” Vierra said.

Heyman said the cadavers will reduce preparation and storage needs, but ultimately may not be as effective as using real human bodies.

“I’m not sure it will entirely replace cadavers for those who really prefer cadavers, but there will certainly be a shift toward digital cadavers for many undergraduate and graduate programs that study anatomy,” Heyman said.

Whether professors or students find the virtual cadavers to be more beneficial or problematic, it is undeniable they will soon be appearing in more and more colleges. CBU is at the forefront of this technology.

About Krista Abrahmsen

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