Dressed in a white gown and hooked to an IV pump, Tina Jones was sitting on a hospital bed when nursing student Erin Abille greeted her.
Glancing at Jones’ chart, Abille saw that the patient came into the hospital for a foot infection and had a penicillin allergy.
“Are you in any pain?” Abille asked.
“Oh, okay,” Jones responded.
The bizarre response wasn’t the only unusual thing, Abille noted. The patient also had stilted facial and hand movements.
But those symptoms weren’t due to a medical condition — they were because Jones is not a real patient but a computer avatar in Shadow Health, a virtual simulation that has been widely adopted by nursing education programs across California since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.