Dr. Wesley Bissett
Dr. Wesley Bissett, Associate Professor and Director, VET, Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team (VET)
Using a Multi-User Virtual Learning Environment (Second Life) to Train Veterinary First Responders in a Simulated Disaster Environment
The Texas A&M University Veterinary Emergency Team (VET) has been in existence since 2010, during which time the team has deployed to over 15 declared disasters in Texas in support of over 4000 animals impacted by the disaster. Most recently the team responded to flooding in West Texas, but was deployed for 21 days to the Hurricane Harvey disaster in 2017. Early in the development of the team came the recognition for training of both veterinary students and veterinarians in disaster scene management. As part of the approach to addressing these issues, the VET developed a required clinical rotation in veterinary emergency preparedness and response which was implemented into the curriculum at Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine in 2012. A distinguishing major component of the instructional design of the clinical rotation includes Second Life®; a commercially obtained computer generated multi-user virtual simulation learning environment. The virtual reality situations require high volume/mass casualty medical triage decision making. The interpersonal communications and interactivity between students, faculty, and third-party actors enable faculty/instructor observers and simulation facilitators to evaluate students actively engaged in critical thinking and complex problem solving in a simulated disaster environment.