Through the use of virtual patients, students can experience ethical conversations without the intrusions and negative consequences of initial encounters happening with real patients. Radiation therapists are expected to maintain a high level of ethical conduct while providing protection, safety, and comfort for patients. By utilizing a unique and innovative approach, the authors were able to expand their Lasallian educator role by providing a holistic, values-based education as they fostered students’ relationships with their patients. They were able to unearth potential improvements that would create more comprehensive interactions in the future. The use of avatars were found to remove the burden from the educator and broaden the horizons of scenarios that students may face. Unleashing the capabilities of experiential learning, as supported by this research, promotes ethical consideration and awareness as students interact with a simulated world.
Full Text: The Ethical Experiment in Radiation Therapy
Keywords: interdisciplinary education, radiation therapy, ethical conduct, technology, avatar, virtual patients, Lasallian core principles, relationships, confidence, clinical skills, experiential learning, improvement
Sara Silverstein, who earned her MPH at New York Medical College, is the clinical coordinator of the radiation therapy technology program at Manhattan College.
Kayla Valentino, who earned her MPA from Walden University, is the program director of the radiation therapy program at Manhattan College.
Shawna BuShell, Ed.D.
Shawna BuShell, who is an assistant professor of education at Manhattan College, earned her doctorate in instructional technology and media from Columbia University’s Teachers College.
Megan Dreher, who recently earned her BA summa cum laude in both philosophy and communications at Manhattan College, is currently a member of the 2020 Masters Cohort in the department of philosophy at Brandeis University.