Thursday, November 3, 2005
SECS and SON partner to create educational software
By Rebecca Wyatt, OU Web Writer
Two participants in the summer Undergraduate Computer Research program got a real-life lesson in designing software for a customer and helped fellow OU students in the process. Senior computer science majors Lidia Mudura and Matt Bruer helped design suction training software for the School of Nursing.
“They developed a simulator the nursing students will use to practice the technique called nasoteacheal suctioning,” said Imad Elhajj, assistant professor of computer science and project mentor. “In real life, the students would insert a tube into the lungs and remove debris the patients can’t remove on their own.”
Using a mouse, joystick or haptic device, which provides force and feedback, students maneuver a tube down the throat and into the lungs of a patient. The software provides a profile of the patient and illustrates the depth of the suctioning device.
The software allows students to work in evaluation mode, which rates their performance, or with real-time assistance, which gives students audio prompts and notes as they go along.
“While there are some programs available at this time, there are many skills that do not have specialized programs developed to allow students to practice and perfect these skills in a realistic manner,” said School of Nursing lab manager Patricia Ketcham.
Previously, nursing students practiced the procedure on a mannequin, but it wasn’t realistic, so the School of Nursing worked closely with the students to create the software to be procedurally accurate.
“The School of Nursing and the School of Engineering and Computer Science had been looking at different collaboration possibilities and this one worked out for both of us,” Elhajj said.
The students had 10 weeks to complete the program, but were able to complete it in eight. They already are looking for ways to enhance it, including adding skill levels and complications.
“We learned a lot about collaboration with a group and meeting deadlines and the research that goes into creating software like this,” Bruer said.
Mudura and Bruer were interested in working on the project because they believe computer science is important in the medical environment.
“Biology and computer sciences are really interesting and by putting them together you can do some really neat projects,” Mudura said.
The software is in the nursing lab and is already in use by the second semester sophomore level nursing students in the chronic care clinical setting. The next step is to develop a method to measure the success of the software against practicing on the mannequin.
For more information on the Undergraduate Computer Research program, visit the School of Engineering and Computer Science Web site. For more information on the School of Nursing, visit the School of Nursing Web site or call (248) 370-4253.