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Using Immersive Virtual Reality Simulation to Teach Pain Management

Ginelle Testa | Apr 11, 2023
Ginelle Testa | Apr 11, 2023

Immersive virtual reality (VR) simulations offer interactive experiences that can be an effective tool for teaching pain management to nurse learners. It can provide a multisensory learning experience that engages learners' senses, such as sight, sound, and touch, which can help learners to better understand and manage pain by experiencing it in a more realistic and engaging way.

Here are 3 ways immersive virtual reality simulations can educate nurse learners about pain management and 3 UbiSim scenarios that focus on pain management.

3 Ways Using Immersive VR Can Teach Pain Management

1. Simulate patient experiences

Instructors can use VR simulations to immerse students in scenarios where they can experience various types of pain or discomfort from a patient's perspective. This can help students develop empathy and a better understanding of the challenges faced by patients experiencing pain. 

UbiSim offers a scenario where Mr. Morton, who uses opioids for chronic pain, is experiencing opioid toxicity during hospitalization. This is a great opportunity for students to practice empathy and understanding while treating him.

Ubisim nursing simulation screenshot of pain management scenario

2. Teach collaboration

Pain management often involves a multidisciplinary approach. VR simulations can teach students the importance of collaborating with other healthcare professionals, such as other nurses and providers. Multiplayer mode in UbiSim enables nursing students and educators to participate in immersive clinical scenarios together, working as a team to assess and care for virtual patients. 

3. Utilize the 6 steps of clinical judgment

The 6 steps of clinical judgment for nursing are crucial in pain management because they provide a systematic approach to assess, diagnose, plan, implement, evaluate, and reflect on the patient's pain experience. Pain is a complex and subjective phenomenon that requires a comprehensive understanding of the patient's health history, physical, emotional, and psychological needs.

  • Recognize and Analyze Cues: The nurse gathers comprehensive information about the patient's pain, including the location, intensity, quality, duration, aggravating and alleviating factors, and the impact on the patient's daily life. 
  • Prioritize Hypotheses: Based on the assessment and information gathered, the nurse can identify potential causes and type of pain to prioritize the pain management goals.
  • Generate Solutions: The nurse works with the patient and healthcare team to develop a plan of care that includes interventions to manage the pain, such as medications, non-pharmacological therapies, and lifestyle modifications.
  • Take Action: The nurse administers the interventions identified in the plan of care, or gathers additional information if needed. They also provide patient education and support to help the patient manage their pain.
  • Evaluate Outcomes: The nurse assesses the effectiveness of the interventions implemented and modifies the plan of care as needed based on the patient's response to treatment.

UbiSim pain management scenarios

At UbiSim, the immersive VR training platform for nursing, we have two more scenarios that deal with pain management (pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic) strategies. 

UbiSim offers a scenario where 9-year-old Anthony is experiencing abdominal pain due to appendicitis.

Ubisim Nursing Simulation on pain management and appendicitis

The third scenario UbiSim offers is Stacey Jones, who is a post-operative patient in severe pain.

Ubisim pain management scenario on post-operative pain nursing simulation

At UbiSim, our mission is to make immersive virtual reality practical and useful for nursing education. We aim for our technology to bridge the gap between knowledge and application. 

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