Knowledge and clinical reasoning are essential concerning quality and confidence in decision-making in the healthcare industry. It’s not only intrinsic factors that influence students' knowledge and clinical reasoning but also extrinsic factors such as satisfaction with taught content, pedagogical resources, methods, and the nature of the objectives and challenges presented.
A surge in the usage of virtual reality, which is an immersive and efficient medium for skill and knowledge development, has been brought on by recent challenges to nursing education. VR is included in different nursing programs at undergraduate and graduate levels to enhance efficiency.
This article will discuss a few evidence-based studies where VR is implemented in nursing curricula to understand its effectiveness and the benefits of VR in nursing education.
What is a virtual simulation in nursing?
Teaching and learning can be enhanced with VR simulation, which has been proven to be a valuable teaching-learning strategy to support the changing world of nursing education and optimize teaching processes. The clinical virtual simulation uses virtual patients in dynamic, realistic clinical settings, spanning from prehospital to community settings. The idea is that a user can access a virtual patient through various multimedia, screen-based interactive, and dynamic patient situations, backed by physiological algorithms.
Virtual reality in nursing education
A recent study with Portuguese nursing students examined how clinical virtual simulation affects knowledge retention, clinical reasoning, satisfaction, and self-efficacy with the learning experience.
This study reveals that over the course of two months, clinical virtual simulation enhances knowledge retention, early clinical reasoning, and student satisfaction with learning, all without changing perceptions of overall efficacy. In the framework of the study, clinical virtual simulation helped students' knowledge retention and clinical reasoning advance by 20.4 percent. Nursing students are more satisfied with their educational experience while using clinical virtual simulation. These findings demonstrate how clinical virtual simulation aligns with the learning preferences and expectations of the younger generation.
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Another study was conducted with undergraduate nursing students at a public university in Ireland to explore their perspective on VR demonstration in nursing education.
Participants said that learning with virtual reality is creative, enjoyable, memorable, inclusive, and engaging. Many thought that virtual reality would enhance present methods of instruction and learning, boost learners' self-confidence, and give nursing students a secure environment to experiment and solve complex medical cases.
Immersive VR simulations in nursing education, according to research published in IntechOpen, are successful because they give students practice in clinical decision-making, cooperation, communication, critical thinking, management, and problem-solving without putting patients in jeopardy. Additionally, they can support students in developing their readiness for actual clinical practice and confidence.
Benefits of VR intervention in nursing
VR technology can serve a variety of purposes for nursing educators. Among the top reasons are facilitating distance learning, increasing patient safety, and providing more clinical experience in a controlled environment.
Provide real-life clinical experience
Nursing students have the opportunity to practice problem-solving in VR before they confront it in actual clinical settings. Incorporating immersive technologies in the nursing curricula can enhance engagement and facilitate an interactive classroom learning experience with practical training modules and sessions.
Everyone is aware that high confidence levels lead to high levels of performance, retention, and skill performance, especially in the healthcare sector. This is where VR makes the difference. Participating in VR simulations before entering the clinical situation helps nurses feel more confident about their competence.
Increase patient safety
Patient care is a critical function for medical institutions and professionals. Simulations allow students to gain experience without jeopardizing the safety of real patients by performing high-cost, high-risk interventions.
For example, using the Patient Care feature of the Proven Reality VR app, hospitals can now offer pain management and patient awareness solutions, making their healthcare procedures more comfortable.
Facilitate remote learning experience
The global pandemic was a major disruptor in the education sector. There is no surprise that it has an impact on nursing education and training as well. Probably the most valuable lesson learned from the pandemic era is that training needs to be adaptive while retaining high levels of engagement, especially for the L&D (learning and development) or EdTech sector.
Learn why VR is fundamental to blended learning here.
The use of virtual reality (VR) allows for greater student flexibility and better access to nursing education. As a result, VR can be incorporated into nursing education more and more to reduce the pressure on nursing students and practicing nurses and combat the nursing shortage simultaneously.
Nursing education is constantly looking for approaches to develop accessible and innovative teaching and learning methods that take students through every stage of their educational journey. Virtual reality experts believe that the academic changes brought about by COVID-19, including the increasing use of virtual reality simulations in nursing education, will last forever, confirmed by its rapid adoption in nursing education.