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FAQ & Beginner’s Guide to Everything Immersive VR Simulation in Nursing Education


Ginelle Testa
UbiSim Story Teller

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In our immersive VR FAQ article focused on nursing education, we aim to answer your most pressing questions about this exciting technology. As virtual reality continues to evolve, immersive VR has emerged as a groundbreaking tool for enhancing nursing education and training. In this article, we will explore the benefits, research, and practical considerations of immersive VR, specifically in the context of nursing education. 

Whether you're a curious nursing student, an educator, or a healthcare professional looking to explore the potential of this technology, this FAQ will provide you with a comprehensive guide. 

Join us as we delve into the world of immersive VR and uncover the captivating possibilities it offers for transforming nursing education.


  • What is virtual reality (VR)?
  • How does VR work?
  • Is immersive VR simulation an effective nurse training method?
  • How do manikins and immersive VR simulation complement each other?
  • What are the advantages of immersive VR relative to desktop VR?
  • Is immersive VR simulation good for nursing clinical experience?
  • Do nurse learners like doing immersive VR?
  • Does immersive VR make you sick?

What is virtual reality (VR)?

Virtual reality (VR) is a computer-generated, immersive technology that simulates a 3D environment, allowing users to interact with and explore in real time. By using specialized hardware such as VR headsets and controllers, users can experience a sense of presence and immersion, making them feel as if they are physically present within the virtual world. 

How does VR work?

Virtual reality (VR) works by combining specialized hardware and software to create an immersive 3D environment. Users wear a VR headset that displays computer-generated images, providing a 360-degree field of view. Head tracking and motion sensors monitor the user's movement, updating the visuals accordingly for a realistic experience. Handheld controllers enable users to interact with the virtual world. 

Is immersive VR simulation an effective nurse training method?

Yes, and we’ve gathered tons of research for you! As the new field of immersive VR simulation has matured, it has garnered substantial evidence of efficacy with significant benefits over traditional training methods. Immersive VR simulation has been found to lead to:

  • More learner satisfaction with a greater sense of realism, proprioception, presence, and interactivity than desktop VR simulation to help bridge the theory-practice gap (Qiao et al, 2023; King et al., 2018)
  • Rapid acquisition of task-related skills, with strong short-term gains and long-term advantages over traditional teaching methods (Smith et al., 2016)
  • Easier tracking and recording of learners, allowing educators to provide objective feedback and adjust their teaching to address skill gaps (Samosorn et al., 2020

How do manikins and immersive VR simulation complement each other?

The choice between VR simulation and manikin simulation is not an 'either-or' proposition but rather a 'both-and' approach. Manikins have been used in medical training for a long time, but they have limitations such as they are not embedded within a scenario for context, don't convey the level of realisim a learner would experience in immersive VR, and don't support the development of soft skills. VR simulations provide an interactive environment that helps nursing learners develop critical decision-making skills. By combining manikins and VR simulations, nurse learners can have a more comprehensive training experience. 

What are the advantages of immersive VR relative to desktop VR?

Immersive VR offers numerous advantages over desktop VR, including an enhanced sense of presence through complete immersion in virtual environments, increased interactivity with motion tracking and haptic hand controllers, improved spatial awareness for more precise interactions, the ability to create captivating storytelling experiences, and the potential for realistic simulations and training across various industries. By enveloping users in a virtual world and stimulating multiple senses, immersive VR provides a more convincing and engaging experience, giving nurse learners  practice so they can handle the challenges of patient care in the real world.

Is immersive VR simulation good for nursing clinical experience?

A landmark study by Hayden et al. (2014) conducted under the auspices of the National Council State Board of Nursing (NCSBN) found that up to 50% of traditional clinical experience can be effectively replaced with simulation in all core courses throughout the pre-licensure curriculum. Importantly, the study also found that NCLEX pass rates were unaffected by the substitution of real clinical experience with simulation.

Do nurse learners like doing immersive VR?

Yes! Hear from a VR expert and nurse educator about their student’s experiences with UbiSim

“The feedback from students is very positive because there’s this novelty factor. They're going to pay a lot more attention and get more excited because it's interesting for them. Our nurses have that sense of novelty every time they play.” - Jeff Jacobson, SIMEngineering XR Project Manager

“The students love it. It’s new technology, it’s like a game, and that’s what this generation likes.” - Dr. Tina Barbour-Taylor, Nursing Faculty, UKCOH School of Nursing, UWF

Does immersive VR make you sick?

VR sickness or cybersickness is a rare but real issue. One key is to use a VR platform that has accurate proprioception (the sense of bodily awareness and our ability to feel and know the position and movement of our body) so that your brain and body movements stay connected. There are other ways to reduce the chance of nausea, such as reducing the length of the VR session because exposure time and VR sickness are significantly correlated. So limiting a VR simulation time to 15-20 minutes, or even up to 30 minutes, can substantially reduce the risk of feeling sick. 


Immersive VR simulation holds immense potential for revolutionizing nursing education. By leveraging the power of virtual reality, nursing students can engage in realistic and interactive scenarios that closely mirror the challenges they will face in real-world healthcare settings. This technology allows for hands-on practice, critical decision-making, and honing of clinical skills in a safe and controlled environment. Immersive VR simulation offers a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between theory and practice, enhancing students' confidence, competence, and overall learning outcomes. 

It provides a platform for immersive and experiential learning, enabling students to develop crucial skills such as patient assessment, clinical reasoning, teamwork, and communication. As the field of nursing education continues to embrace immersive VR simulation, we can anticipate a new era of highly skilled and competent nursing professionals ready to deliver quality care in an ever-evolving healthcare landscape.

Interested in trying immersive VR for your nursing students? Request a demo of UbiSim today!
Interested in trying UbiSim in your healthcare institution?
Request a Demo
Ginelle Testa
UbiSim Story Teller

As an integral center of UbiSim's content team, Ginelle pens stories on the rapidly changing landscape of VR in nursing simulation. Ginelle is committed to elevating the voices of practicing nurses, nurse educators, and program leaders who are making a difference.

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