ROANOKE, Va. – There's a shortage of nurses across the country and right here at home. A local university found a way to increase pass rates in one of the hardest classes.
"I always wanted to do something in the medical field," said Mohammad Salmon, an ECPI University student studying to become a registered nurse. He was in his last semester as an engineering student at Virginia Tech when he quit to become a nurse. "I want to help people. I have seen so many family members dying because of different diseases and stuff, so I want to help those and other people at the same time."
New technology at ECPI University in Roanoke is making it easier.
Students use an Anatomage Table, a lifesize, touch-screen experience where students can see how the body works layer by layer.
Each student also has an iPad where they can see more information about diseases and the body. It brings the textbook to life.
"This technology helps out tremendously. It enables us to really see from the outside and what happens within our body," said Charles Bailey, ECPI University LPN student.
Virtual reality headsets really make you feel like you're picking up bones and holding them in your hands.
"When I first started teaching anatomy almost 30 years ago it started out with just the acetates and the overhead projector," said biology professor Dr. Bob Rimkis. "It takes that two-dimensional approach of learning into a three- and four- dimensional approach where the students can become a lot more interactive with it."
Anatomy and physiology is one of the hardest classes to pass at ECPI but the new technology implemented within the last year means pass rates have gone up by about 25%.
"This course is the foundation for all the other courses here, so it's essential they have success at this level," said Rimkis.
"I want to go to medical school so if I can learn this right now it will make it way easier for me," said Salmon.