2016 will be known as the year when virtual reality (VR) finally broke into the entertainment mainstream, but is it paving the way for the future of healthcare education? This topic will be explored in this evening’s episode of RTE’s programme, “10 Things to Know About…” which will look at some of the virtual reality applications developed by RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland). This episode, featuring Donncha Ryan, Dr Cuan Harrington and Professor Sean Tierney, all from RCSI’s Department of Surgical Affairs, the seventh and final in the series, will broadcast on RTE One at 8.30pm tonight.

Earlier this year, Donncha and his team at RCSI developed and launched the world’s first fully interactive virtual reality medical training simulator, allowing users simulate emergency room management of a patient following a road traffic accident. The RCSI VR Medical Training Sim app puts medical professionals and trainees in the shoes of the Emergency Department trauma team leader where they must assess the patient, make life or death decisions in real time and perform life-saving operative procedures as a surgeon would in a real emergency room. Since its launch the app has been downloaded over 110,000 times.


Donncha Ryan shows Kathriona how to use a VR simulator – tune in tonight from 8.30pm on RTE One

Presenter Kathriona Devereux visits RCSI to slip on a VR headset and tests herself on some of RCSI’s VR prototypes including a hybrid laparoscopic trainer, which takes an ordinary box trainer and transforms it into an experience in an operating theatre. Professor Tierney then guides her through a virtual operation using the VR technology. The stressful, immersive environment simulates conditions experienced by young doctors. Kathriona also discusses the future of VR in healthcare and education with Professor Tierney and its potential use in future training.

“10 Things to Know About…”, is presented by Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain, Kathriona Devereux and Jonathan McCrea, who will investigate some of the most exciting and ground-breaking science projects underway in Ireland. This time around each episode is themed on a certain scientific topic which gives ten key learnings to viewers on that research area.

The app is also available to download and features an interactive alternative mode for the non-medical user, including guides and explanations for each step. For further information and to view a demo of the experience, visit: www.msurgery.ie/vr.

RCSI is ranked in the top 250 institutions worldwide and joint 1st place in the Republic of Ireland in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (2016-2017). It is an international not-for-profit health sciences institution, with its headquarters in Dublin, focused on education and research to drive improvements in human health worldwide.