Midwifery, birth and Second Life

birthing-unit-aug2009(This story originally appeared over at Metaverse Health)

For the past couple of years I’ve been aware of the work going on in New Zealand with midwifery training and Second Life, mostly thanks to the updates over at SLENZ.

Machinima maker Pooky Amsterdam dropped me a line about a film she’s helped produce that explains the role of Te Wāhi Whānau – The Birth Place in Second Life. The lead educator on the project is Sarah Stewart (SL: Petal Stransky), with SLENZ Project co-leader, Terry Neal (SL: Tere Tinkel) and Scotland based Russell (Rosco) Boyd also heavily involved.

Take some time to watch the 6-minute machinima:

After walking through the actual build and after watching the machinima, the main impression I’m left with is how midwife-driven this project is. What I mean by that, is the birthing unit is so much better than most in existence in the real world. As a Registered Nurse (but not a midwife), I’ve witnessed half a dozen births and even from that limited perspective I can totally appreciate how much better a birthing environment Te Wāhi Whānau is compared to even the better hospital-based birthing units. As a clinical simulation for midwives, I can see its power as a key adjunct to lab-based learning and practicums. The gamut from initial assessment of labour to initiating breastfeeding and perineal care is covered in a comprehensive way.

The SLENZ team deserve major kudos for their work over the past couple of years – they’re some of the true pioneers in virtual worlds and health.

You can of course view the birthing unit for yourself here.

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