Case Study: Mark Taubert

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We asked previous winners of the BEST Trainer Awards to give us more information on what they did after winning. Dr Mark Taubert, Clinical Director/Consultant in Palliative Medicine at the Velindre Cancer Centre, and winner of BEST Trainer Award 2016 and BMJ/BMA Clinical Teacher of the Year, discussed his work with VR technology in palliative care.

“Winning the 2016 BEST and also the 2017 BMJ/BMA Clinical Teacher of the Year Award was very special - no doubt about it. I promised my trainees I wouldn’t let it get to my head too much.

“And then I asked the Deanery to fund me some virtual reality (VR) equipment with my bursary prize, so that I could use it in teaching at all levels. I think they thought I was a bit eccentric!

“With the equipment (VR 360 cameras, laptop and Oculus Rift headsets), we are now starting a small but evolving library of educational resources here at the Cancer Centre. We’ve filmed a Velindre radiotherapy experience “on the bench”, so that medical students and junior doctors (as well as patients and carers) can get an idea of what it’s like for a patient to have a linear accelerator machine hovering around their body. Many staff who work here have never experienced RT from the bench view.

“You can view the video on YouTube, but as it’s a 360 video, it’s best viewed using a VR headset, or on a mobile device. You can also see a video of trainees at Velindre Cancer Centre “learning” in a virtual reality setting too.

“I really think we can harness this technology for some of the more challenging learning opportunities in the future – without wanting to sound like we’re just jumping on a bandwagon.

“It’s meant working with a Cardiff-based company called Orchard, who opened my eyes to the possibilities. I’ve met lots of other healthcare professionals, who are starting to see the potential of VR and AR (augmented reality) in their settings too.

“Wales can be at the forefront when it comes to using these technologies. I’m sure my initial ventures will look very old-fashioned in years to come, but you have to start somewhere! My colleague Dr Mitali Patel and I are working with the Bevan Commission to evaluate the impact of VR and AR on the cancer setting.

“Please contact me if you are interested, and I will link you up with the Orchard Team. I’m active on Twitter, so please do get in touch.”

You can nominate someone for a BEST Trainer 2017 Award by filling out our online form now. All finalists will be invited to an awards ceremony held in Cardiff in March 2018, whilst the winners will receive a medical education bursary of £3,000 each.

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