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The objective of this study was to compare the effectiveness of a virtual intravenous simulator with a plastic arm model in teaching intravenous catheter insertion skills to nursing students. We used a randomized controlled quasi-experimental trial design and recruited 65 students who were assigned to the experimental (n = 33) and control (n = 32) groups using the simple random sampling method. The experimental group received intravenous catheterization skills training on the virtual intravenous simulator, and the control group received the same training on a plastic model of a human arm. Data were collected using the personal information form, intravenous catheterization knowledge assessment form, Intravenous Catheterization Skill Test, Self-Confidence and Satisfaction Scale, and Fear Symptoms Scale. In the study, the mean scores in the control group were 20.44 for psychomotor skills, 15.62 for clinical psychomotor skills, 31.78 for self-confidence, and 21.77 for satisfaction. The mean scores in the experimental group were 45.18 for psychomotor skills, 16.28 for clinical psychomotor skills, 34.18 for self-confidence, and 43.89 for satisfaction. The results indicated that psychomotor skills and satisfaction scores were higher in the experimental group, while the clinical psychomotor skills and self-confidence scores were similar in both groups. More students in the control group reported experiencing symptoms such as cold and sweaty hands, significant restlessness, and tense muscles than those in the experimental group.