S4Game Project

Non-technical skills or soft skills are interpersonal (e.g. communication, teamwork), cognitive (e.g. decision-making, situational awareness) and personal resource (e.g. coping with stress and fatigue) skills that complement technical skills, and contribute to safe and efficient task performance. The influence of soft skills in the surgical environment has been under analysis for not a long time. They are of increasing importance in surgery and surgical training as a traditional focus on technical skills acquisition and competence is no longer enough for the delivery of a modern, safe, surgical practice. Vocation and Educational Training (VET) of surgical team members in soft skills is still a must for continuing education of these professionals.
On the other hand, Virtual Reality (VR) and Serious Games (SG) are emerging markets with endless possibilities in several fields. They have also great possibilities in surgical training, yet not exploited, as they provide immersive environments, where surgical team members can acquire skills neither compromising patient security, nor requesting the use of an actual operating room, avoiding the cost that its use supposes.

Therefore, S4Game aims to provide health professionals with an innovative approach to acquire and develop soft skills to foster their professional development. In this regard, a handbook and an immersive SG based on VR technologies will be produced. Their main learning objective is the acquisition of soft skills required during work in an operating room, such as communication, teamwork or leadership. The different roles involved in the operating room (surgeon, nurse and anaesthetist) will be present in the SG in the form of 3D avatars, allowing for the recreation of the typical interaction during the surgical procedure.

The following results are expected:
O1. Handbook of soft skills training using virtual reality and serious games for surgical teams in the operating room: report providing in depth information about new approaches and innovative methodologies on training of soft skills using VR and SG for surgical teams in the OR. It is intended to assist VET teachers, trainers and mentors and their institutions to organize training activities.
O2. S4Game: console game and an integral part of the training activities gathered in the handbook. It will be done through a double innovation loop. User manual and demos will be also provided. The S4Game will be tested in individual training sessions in the four countries participating in the consortium.

Impact and benefits
It is expected that S4Game project will have a great external impact. Due to the lack of regularized training of soft skills for surgical teams, it is expected to become an essential action to improve the skills of specialized surgical workforce. The S4Game will provide them with a new training tool for acquisition of competences related to soft skills that will be applied in their working activity as surgical team. This will mean an improvement of the patient outcome through the decrement of errors associated to soft skills in the operating room. VET trainers and institutions will also benefit from the results of the S4Game, as they will be provided with methodologies and recommendations to include VR-based devices for training. Besides, the influences in soft skills of the sociocultural national background will minimize the cultural shock that eventually might suffer health professionals who aim to move and develop their professional career in a different country. On the other hand, the European competitiveness in the sector will be increased and this transnational action will also serve to raise awareness on the importance of training soft skills for surgical teams, and the need to cover the gap with proper training solutions. The S4Game leads to a great opportunity of key specialization in a huge and worldwide growing market.