Virtual Nursing Simulation, Created in partnership with UWS

2021 - 2022
November - May
Oculus Quest 2
A virtual nursing simulation was created by The VR Hive, for UWS to assist the students of BSC Nursing & Midwifery gain experiential training while studying remotely

The Client

University of the West of Scotland aims to have a transformational influence on the economic, social and cultural development of the west of Scotland and beyond.

UWS is officially recognised by Times Higher Education in the top 600 of universities worldwide (2022 World University Rankings). As well as, in the top 150 of universities worldwide under 50 years old (2022 Young University Rankings).

UWS Logo
Sad Student

The Problem

During the pandemic, Universities shut down and moved their provision to “remote learning”. As a result, of the sudden shift, critical issues were revealed about education’s weak adoption of online technologies. Consequently, remote provisions especially affected students who needed to practice real-world skills in a practical environment.

As a response to this The Vice-Chancellor of UWS, Professor Craig Mahoney, launched the Vice Chancellor’s Innovation Fund.

“Our innovative teaching practices, on-line learning environment, award-winning spaces and talented academics, will support our students to gain a degree and instil a passion for lifelong learning.”

The Solution

The VR Hive together with UWS, had an exciting and progressive idea to use Virtual Reality to build a nursing simulator. Basically a practical experience whereby nurses could practice skills in a safe and experiential environment. Since the scope of the project was to simulate a portion of the tasks which nursing community practitioners must prioritise and handle while working in the field. Specifically, this covered patient prioritisation, preparation of treatment materials/equipment, environmental/holistic risk assessment, patient dialogue, conducting treatment and post-treatment care options.

Patient Prioritisation
Equipment Preparation
Wound Treatment

The Results

The Nursing XR application met and exceeded the intended aims of the project with UWS. which were to facilitate simulated nursing practice and develop student nurses’ skills. 

The collaborative development and the participatory approach, meant that The VR Hive worked alongside experts in the fields of nursing. As well as, experts of immersive design to create a product that enabled student nurses to undertake decision making, risk assessment and wound management. Moreover the simulation also elicited collaboration and discussion on prioritization of patients, treatments, and holistic assessment of the patient environment.

Dr Gilardi (2022) found that student participants felt that the application was valuable to their learning, especially the immersion and presence induced by the simulation. Conclusively, student participants felt it was a safe space to experiment and learn without feeling judged. While also having the ability to discuss decision making and interactions with their peers. Subsequently, this promoted reflection in simulated practice.

Evaluation of Student Participation

This simulation resulted in Dr Marco Gilardi writing an evaluative paper, whilst observing nursing students from UWS’s BSC Nursing and Midwifery degrees. As well as their reaction and the measure of learning from the experience.

Some of the feedback from the evaluation of the product by the students:

“It’s quite realistic as well. […] I personally felt I was back on a placement at a patient’s door thinking; I should do this before I go in, I should ask this before I go in.”

– Participant 2

“I thought, it was quite real. I felt quite immersed in the experience, there were a couple of things that felt natural for me, you know, when I was moving around the room and I got to the home…”

– Participant 4

- UWS KTP Associates Conference 2022

Next steps

This nursing simulation is just the beginning. Evidently, UWS were very impressed with this simulation. As such, The VR Hive are beginning to improve the experience by adding more patients with different needs. This type of immersive learning is imperative, if we are going to be moving to hybrid education. It allows for experiential learning. Not only is it about practical tasks, but learning effective communication and crucial observation skills vital to nursing practice.

The VR Hive are also working with UWS to build an educational immersive platform. A place where Colleges, Universities, and Businesses can access immersive, experiential learning globally.

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