Second Life is a “virtual” world where users act and communicate using avatars.
A medical school in the UK is experimenting with the platform, where “students [via their avatars] enter a patient’s room and their work begins. Because their assignment takes place in a respiratory ward, they can access recordings of real-life patients’ breathing to help with their diagnoses. And if students decide that X-rays are needed, they can stroll down to the radiology department and order them.”
So, can this Sim-hospital replace real medical training? Likely not, but as the students report, it does give a nice change of pace from the usual.
This novelty approach to learning is unlikely to become anything more than a fad, and probably can help more with learning how to do procedures. A virtual trainer to help insert a central line, for instance, would be tremendously helpful.
But, interacting with patients? It takes talking to real people for students to develop good bedside manner.