With the rapid strides in technology and shortage of nursing workforce, there has been a transformation in nursing education to prepare nursing students for evolving and complex healthcare environments. Over the last few years, and more specifically in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, challenges to nursing training and education have resulted in the increasing use of innovative virtual reality in healthcare.
HOW CAN VR BENEFIT NURSING EDUCATION?
The application of theoretical knowledge and training is critical in nursing education. A lack of sufficient clinical practice may contribute to nursing procedural errors, and may compromise the safety of patients. Medical VR technology is successfully bridging the gap between theory and practice.
There are several areas where the use of VR medical training has proven to be effective. These include:
- Nursing skill competence training
- Knowledge retention
- Clinical reasoning & decision-making
- Leadership & communication
- Chemotherapy administration
- Phlebotomy training
- Disaster triage
APPLICATIONS OF VR IN NURSING EDUCATION
One of the biggest advantages of VR in healthcare is creating real-life simulations for nursing students. Simulation is a highly valuable teaching-learning strategy in nursing education, and it helps to optimize the teaching process. Through VR simulations, students get realistic opportunities to practice learned nursing skills. They can repeatedly go through different clinical scenarios, make decisions, and learn from varying outcomes in a safe environment.
Using VR for nurses’ education is highly effective because it provides an immersive experience that is similar to real life scenarios, which improves their ability to learn. With VR technology, the nursing students are able to not only visualize the content, but also to interact with it.
LINK BETWEEN THEORY & PRACTICE
Due to the interactive characteristics of VR, it is possible to facilitate the link between theory and practice for nursing students. The technology provides them with repeated exposure to theoretical content and related clinical skills, leading to a more holistic learning.
Nurses are also using medical VR for continuing education opportunities. This allows them to stay up-to-date on the latest industry standards and best practices without having to leave their homes or offices. Research has revealed the multiple benefits of using VR in nursing training, including:
- Interactive learning opportunities
- Higher access and flexibility for the learner
- The opportunity to ask questions
- Easy accessibility to presentations and lectures
By allowing nursing students the chance to not only visualize learned content but also to interact with it, virtual reality applications in healthcare have the potential to change the way medical education is imparted. In addition to knowledge and clinical skill gains, VR is a means to deliver positive learning experiences with evidence of better learning outcomes.