Vienna, Austria

ESTRO 2023

Session Item

May 14
10:30 - 11:30
Strauss 3
Advancements in RTT practice
Loes Bulthuis, The Netherlands;
Michelle Leech, Ireland
Proffered Papers
10:50 - 11:00
Experiential learning through paediatric patient education: game-based radiotherapy rehearsals
Wee Yee Shara Lee, Hong Kong (SAR) China


Experiential learning through paediatric patient education: game-based radiotherapy rehearsals

Shara WY Lee1, Chi Fung Ching1, Alexander J Nicol1, Victor CW Tam1, Jing Cai1, Vincent WS Leung1, Helen KW Law1

1The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Department of Health Technology and Informatics, Hong Kong, Hong Kong (SAR) China

Show Affiliations
Purpose or Objective

The radiotherapy (RT) teaching team collaborated with RT and medical physics students to develop education workshops in preparing paediatric cancer patients for RT using semi-immersive virtual reality. This provides a precious opportunity for students to engage with patients and their carers before commencing treatments. Each workshop was led by students under the supervision of academic staff and professionals from both disciplines. Students can sharpen their communication skills and translate what they have learnt in the classroom into actual clinical practice.

Material and Methods

Each workshop was tailored to help paediatric patients and caregivers familiarise themselves with the specific requirements of the RT course. Being able to alleviate their anxiety through addressing their physical and emotional needs beforehand would avoid the need of sedation during RT. Using the VERTⓇ (Virtual Environment for Radiation Therapy Training), our students designed a creative ‘rehearsal’, with ‘warm-up’ games for ice-breaking. It was followed by a ‘mission’ based on a storyline of the patient’s favourite cartoon characters to introduce the patient to the treatment procedures. This game-based environment facilitated patient’s engagement and cooperation throughout the activity. Lastly, a VERT-based simulation was conducted with the patient lying on a medical couch in the room alone, using immobilisation devices identical to those used for the real treatment. Feedback questionnaires were given to both students and caregivers after the workshop to evaluate the effectiveness of the intended outcomes.


Fourteen workshops with patients aged between 4-16 were organised between March 2021 and August 2022. All students (n=28) agreed that the experience strengthened their ability to communicate with patients and caregivers, work as a team, and improve their emotional intelligence. The caregivers (n=21) commented that the workshop equipped them with knowledge and resources to holistically support their children throughout RT. Twelve cases were completed without anaesthesia throughout the whole course of RT.


Utilising immersive virtual reality to provide experiential education and service, the workshops have successfully achieved the intended objectives that benefited the students, patients and their carers.