Virtual Reality Simulation: Using Three-dimensional Technology to Teach Nursing Students

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The use of computerized technology is rapidly growing in the classroom and in healthcare. An emerging computer technology strategy for nursing education is the use of virtual reality simulation. This computer-based three-dimensional educational tool simulates real-life patient experiences in a risk-free environment, allows for repeated practice sessions, requires clinical decision making, exposes students to diverse patient conditions, provides immediate feedback, and is portable. The purpose of this article was to review the importance of virtual reality simulation as a computerized teaching strategy. In addition, a project to explore readiness of nursing faculty at one major Midwestern university for the use of virtual reality simulation as a computerized teaching strategy is described where faculty thought virtual reality simulation would increase students’ knowledge of an intravenous line insertion procedure. Faculty who practiced intravenous catheter insertion via virtual reality simulation expressed a wide range of learning experiences from using virtual reality simulation that is congruent with the literature regarding the barriers to student learning. Innovative teaching strategies, such as virtual reality simulation, address barriers of increasing patient acuity, high student-to-faculty ratio, patient safety concerns from faculty, and student anxiety and can offer rapid feedback tostudents.

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