Why Virtual Reality (VR) is gaining more attention for Nursing Education

Why Virtual Reality (VR) is gaining more attention for Nursing Education


Virtual reality nursing simulations have gained popularity in nursing schools due to recent advancements in technology, particularly in artificial intelligence (AI) functionalities. In the past, VR struggled to meet nursing education standards, often leaving students frustrated. However, today's VR simulations are capable of replicating human-like communication and interactions, creating a more immersive and realistic learning experience. Unlike traditional mannequins, which are limited in their ability to mimic human responses and emotions, VR simulations offer a dynamic and adaptable platform that can challenge students with a wide range of clinical scenarios, from routine care to critical emergencies. This contrast highlights the limitations of mannequins as poor stand-ins for humans, while underscoring the newfound effectiveness of VR in providing nursing students with a lifelike and invaluable learning experience. In this article, we will further explore additional reasons why nursing schools are starting to become more welcoming to the technology:

Diverse Clinical Scenarios: VR simulations can be tailored to cover a wide range of clinical scenarios, from common medical conditions to rare emergencies. Nursing schools can leverage this wealth of content to expose students to a broader spectrum of patient cases than they might encounter during traditional clinical rotations.

Scalable lab space: VR simulations offer mobile and on-demand experience for nursing students, without the required attention from instructors. This brings unlimited opportunities to strengthen clinical decision making and critical thinking through repetition and safe learning environments. This benefit allows institutions to possibly introduce more nursing students in their enrollment.  

Progressive Complexity: VR simulations can be designed to increase in complexity over time. By gradually introducing more challenging scenarios, students can build their skills progressively, allowing for a smoother transition from novice to expert. Nursing schools can utilize these escalating scenarios to ensure students are well-prepared for diverse healthcare settings.

Interdisciplinary Learning: VR-generated case scenarios can incorporate interprofessional education by involving students from various healthcare disciplines, such as nursing, medicine, pharmacy, and physical therapy. This collaborative approach mirrors real-world healthcare teams and prepares students for effective teamwork in clinical settings.

Cultural Competency: Virtual reality simulations can be customized to represent diverse patient populations, addressing the need for cultural competency training in nursing. Schools can create scenarios that require students to navigate cultural differences, enhancing their ability to provide culturally sensitive care.

Rare and Critical Situations: Rare or critical clinical situations that students may rarely encounter in traditional clinical rotations can be simulated in VR. This exposure prepares students to confidently handle high-stress, life-threatening emergencies, ultimately improving patient safety.

Repeated Practice: VR allows for unlimited repetition of scenarios, enabling students to practice until they achieve mastery. This extended practice can be particularly beneficial for refining critical skills, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or managing acute patient deterioration.

Remote Learning: Virtual reality simulations can be accessed remotely, allowing students to practice and learn from anywhere with an internet connection. This flexibility is especially valuable for distance education programs and students with scheduling constraints.

Assessment and Evaluation: VR-generated case scenario materials can include built-in assessment tools that provide immediate feedback to students. This real-time evaluation helps educators monitor progress and identify areas requiring improvement.

Research Opportunities: Nursing schools can use data generated by VR simulations for research purposes, contributing to the ongoing advancement of nursing education and healthcare practice. Researchers can explore how students respond to various scenarios, identify learning trends, and develop evidence-based teaching strategies.

Customization for Individual Learning: VR simulations can be customized to meet the specific needs of individual students. Educators can tailor scenarios based on a student's proficiency level or focus on areas where improvement is needed, creating a personalized learning experience.

Incorporating additional case scenario materials stemming from VR nursing simulations not only enriches the educational experience but also prepares nursing students to meet the evolving demands of healthcare. By offering a wide range of scenarios, fostering interprofessional collaboration, and providing opportunities for repeated practice, nursing schools can ensure that their graduates are not only competent but also confident healthcare professionals ready to excel in their nursing careers. The possibilities are endless, and the future of nursing education is brighter than ever before.


Written By: 

Will Kirkpatrick, MSN, APRN, FNP-C, CCRN, CSCS 

Founder of Tactile VR

William has worked in many different positions such as an ICU RN, Nursing Supervisor, and Nursing Educator. With his experience, he was able to view healthcare in many different aspects and identify education opportunities towards improving the desperate need of more healthcare workers and education solutions. He is experienced in software development applications that allow VR application creation such as Courseta VR