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November 27, 2023

How to Overcome Nurse Educator Reluctance to Using Virtual Reality


Ginelle Testa
UbiSim Story Teller

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Maybe you're a Director of Simulation or Simulation Tech, excited and ready to bring cutting-edge VR to your nursing institution. However, you're facing some reluctance from your nurse educators about adopting this technology as a teaching tool. 

While VR technology has proven to be effective in enhancing nursing education and improving student learning outcomes, some nurse educators, for various reasons, have been hesitant to embrace this innovative approach.

It is crucial to address their reluctance to use immersive VR. By doing so, we can unlock the full potential of this technology and provide nursing students with a more engaging and realistic learning experience. 

Overcoming this reluctance will help educators contribute to the advancement of nursing education, ultimately leading to better-prepared nurses who can provide high-quality care to their patients.

UbiSim is a VR training platform dedicated entirely to nursing and built by nurses. 

Understand & Address Reasons for Reluctance

1. Lack of familiarity with VR technology

One of the primary reasons for nurse educators’ reluctance to use immersive VR in nursing education is their lack of familiarity with the tech. Many nurse educators may have had minimal exposure to VR and likely did not have the opportunity to use it in their own training. As a result, they may feel uncertain about incorporating VR into their teaching methods.

How to address these concerns: Nurse educators should be provided with comprehensive training and education on VR technology. This can include workshops, seminars, or online courses offering hands-on VR simulation experience. By equipping nurse educators with the necessary knowledge and skills, they can gain the confidence to utilize VR technology effectively in their teaching practices.

UbiSim offers a free trial - we'll even ship you a headset and provide an orientation so you can test drive the immersive platform yourself. 

Check out the webinar: From Screen to Scene: How UbiSim's Immersive VR Transforms Nursing Education on Healthy Simulation. 

2. Concerns about cost and resources

Another factor that contributes to nurse educator reluctance is concerns about the cost and resources required for implementing immersive VR in nursing education. VR technology can be perceived as expensive and requiring significant financial investments. Additionally, the infrastructure and technical support needed for VR implementation may seem daunting to nurse educators who are already balancing too many responsibilities.

How to address these concerns: Healthcare organizations and educational institutions can explore partnerships with technology providers or seek funding opportunities specifically allocated for VR integration in nursing education. By securing financial support and establishing collaborations, nurse educators can have access to necessary resources without bearing the full burden alone. Furthermore, dedicated technical support and maintenance teams can be established to assist nurse educators in managing VR equipment and troubleshooting, easing their worries about the technical aspects.

Discover opportunities for funding technology in your nursing program

3. Fear of technology replacing traditional teaching methods

A common apprehension among nurse educators is the fear that immersive VR technology will replace traditional teaching methods, eroding the human connection and interpersonal skills that are essential in nursing education. Nurse educators may worry that reliance on technology may lead to the neglect of critical aspects such as patient communication and empathy.

How to address these concerns: It is crucial to emphasize that immersive VR should not replace traditional teaching methods but rather complement them. VR technology can provide unique opportunities for nursing students to practice and enhance their clinical skills in a controlled and safe environment. By framing VR as a supplementary tool rather than a replacement, nurse educators can embrace VR as a valuable addition to their teaching practices while continuing to emphasize the importance of human interaction in nursing education.

In UbiSim, a nursing student or learner can hear a baby cry as their temperature shoots up. They have the chance to interact with the parent as well as treat the baby. This realism evokes true empathy and enables human interaction in clinical simulation. 

4. Doubts about the effectiveness of immersive VR in nursing education

Lastly, nurse educators may have doubts about the effectiveness of immersive VR in nursing education. They may question whether VR simulations can truly replicate the complexity and nuances of real-life patient encounters or if they can effectively improve students' clinical skills and decision-making abilities.

How to address these concerns: It is essential to provide nurse educators with evidence-based research and studies showcasing the positive impact of immersive VR in nursing education. 

Sharing success stories and case studies where VR simulations have resulted in improved learning outcomes, enhanced critical thinking, and increased confidence among nursing students can help alleviate doubts and build trust in the effectiveness of VR technology. 

Additionally, establishing a culture of collaboration and peer support among nurse educators who have already embraced immersive VR can encourage reluctant educators to explore and adopt this innovative teaching approach. 

Share the Benefits of Immersive VR

1. Advantages in Enhancing Clinical Skills and Knowledge

Immersive virtual reality (VR) technology has the potential to revolutionize nursing education by offering unique advantages in enhancing clinical skills and knowledge. By creating realistic virtual environments, immersive VR enables nursing students to engage in hands-on practice and gain valuable experience without the risks associated with real-life patient care.

According to one study, “Virtual reality simulations show nursing students what it is like to be in a real-world clinical setting and what problems and risks they may encounter there, and thus, helps them develop skills, build confidence, and prepare for clinical practice.”

They can navigate virtual patient care settings, perform assessments, administer medications, and make critical decisions in a realistic and immersive manner. 

2. More Possibilities with Realistic Virtual Simulations and Scenarios

One of the key benefits of immersive VR in nursing education is the ability to create highly realistic virtual simulations and scenarios. These virtual environments can replicate various clinical settings, such as hospital wards, emergency rooms, and operating theaters, with remarkable accuracy. Nursing students can interact with virtual patients, experience their symptoms, and respond to dynamic changes in their conditions.

By exposing students to diverse and challenging scenarios, immersive VR fosters a deeper understanding of different medical conditions and their corresponding treatments. This enhances their clinical knowledge and trains them to think critically and make sound judgments in complex healthcare situations. Additionally, virtual simulations allow for repetition and practice, enabling students to refine their skills and strive for excellence in their clinical practice.

Read more about UbiSim’s realism on Healthy Simulation.

3. Greater Potential for Experiential Learning and Clinical Judgment Development

Immersive VR offers a unique opportunity for experiential learning in nursing education. By immersing students in realistic virtual environments, they can actively participate in the learning process, which leads to a more profound understanding of clinical concepts. 

Furthermore, immersive VR stimulates clinical judgment development among nursing students, which is necessary for student's to pass the Next Generation NCLEX. Presenting them with complex and dynamic scenarios challenges students to analyze situations, consider multiple factors such as provider communication and input from family members, and make informed decisions. 

4. Immersive VR Bridges the Gap Between Theory and Practice

Bridging the gap between theory and practice is a challenge in nursing education. Immersive VR has emerged as a promising tool to overcome this challenge. By providing a realistic and immersive learning environment, immersive VR enables nursing students to apply theoretical knowledge in practical settings. A study discusses how this gap is bridged

Through interactive virtual simulations, students can directly observe the effects of their decisions and actions, reinforcing the link between theory and practice. This experiential learning approach helps students integrate theoretical knowledge into their clinical reasoning.

Implementing VR in Nursing Education Programs

  • Collaborate with VR technology providers and industry experts to gain a deep understanding of immersive VR technology and its potential benefits in nursing education.
  • Create a comprehensive implementation plan that outlines the goals, objectives, and strategies for integrating immersive VR into nursing education programs.
  • Provide ongoing support and training for nurse educators to ensure they are comfortable and confident in using immersive VR as a teaching tool.
  • Implement regular evaluations and measurements to assess the impact of immersive VR on student learning outcomes. This will help identify improvement areas and determine the technology's effectiveness in enhancing nursing education.

Immersive VR Success Story

UbiSim works with many educational institutions and healthcare systems to better equip and train nurses through virtual simulation. Check out some of The University of Manitoba's story:

Facing the growing shortage of nurses in Manitoba, the University of Manitoba took bold action to expand its BSN program by 50%. Beginning in Fall 2022, the College of Nursing raised seat capacity and accelerated time to completion to just 28 months. Now offering three terms per year at its Fort Garry campus, the College of Nursing relies on UbiSim simulation to fulfill students’ clinical hours while maintaining program rigor and NCLEX pass rates. 

We wouldn't be able to do this program expansion without UbiSim. We are using 50% simulation to meet their clinical time, and one-third of that time is spent in immersive VR." - Kimberly Workum, RN, BScN, MEd, CHSE, CCNE, Director of the Clinical Competence Assessment Centre and Digital Strategy

Read the whole case study here

Final Thoughts

Overcoming nurse educators' reluctance to adopt immersive VR in nursing education is vital for advancing the field. Hopefully, some of the insight and tips we’ve provided can help get everyone on the same page and excited about implementing virtual reality!

Ready for virtual reality in your classroom or healthcare system? Schedule 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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