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February 8, 2021

UbiSim: Bringing OB Simulation to Immersive Virtual Reality



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UbiSim is bringing obstetric (OB) simulation to immersive virtual reality with our new patient Amy! We understand the critical need for immersive, high fidelity OB simulations for nursing education. Amy can be customized from the prenatal to the postpartum period so your nurse learners can practice caring for women across the childbearing spectrum in a safe learning environment. Read on to learn more about Amy and the importance of bringing high quality OB simulations to immersive virtual reality.

Alarming Maternal Mortality Rates

Maternal mortality is a worldwide issue. According to the World Health Organization, maternal mortality is defined as the annual number of female deaths that occur during or within 42 days of pregnancy from any pregnancy-related cause. In 2017, 810 women died each day from pregnancy-related complications, most of which were preventable or treatable. In the U.S. alone, the 2018 maternal mortality rate was 17.4 per 100,000 live births, which is the highest rate among developed countries. Despite efforts to decrease maternal mortality,  the risk of dying from pregnancy-related conditions during, or shortly after, pregnancy has not decreased in the U.S. for the past 25 years. Many issues contribute to the relatively high maternal mortality rates in the U.S. There are an increasing number of pregnant women with chronic health conditions that raise the risk for pregnancy complications, including hypertension and diabetes. While the cause of pregnancy-related deaths vary based on the pregnancy outcome, hemorrhage, infection, and hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (preeclampsia and eclampsia) are among the major complications responsible for maternal mortality. Maternal mortality rates are further complicated by alarming racial and ethnic disparities. The pregnancy-related mortality ratios are 3.3 times higher for Black women and 2.5 times higher for Native American and Alaska Native women than they are for white women. In addition, Asian/Pacific Islander and Hispanic women have significantly higher rates of severe maternal morbidity than white women.

Image source: The Commonwealth Fund, 2020. Retrieved from:

The Importance of OB Simulation

Adverse events in OB emergencies are commonly linked to inadequate staff training. OB simulation provides an excellent solution for educating healthcare professionals on how to provide safe and effective care to OB patients. Simulation is associated with an improvement in OB outcomes, including decreases in postpartum hemorrhage and neonatal brachial plexus injury. OB simulations are a valuable tool in nursing education. According to a recent integrative review, OB simulation is a safe and effective teaching strategy that has positive effects on prelicensure nursing students’ confidence levels, anxiety, critical thinking, self-efficacy, and psychomotor skills. Simulation has also been shown to improve nursing students’ confidence and critical thinking skills when performing postpartum and newborn assessments. OB simulation is especially critical for nursing students because it provides a unique opportunity to develop clinical judgment and competency with no risk of patient harm. Concerns of liability and patient safety can result in nursing students observing in the clinical setting rather than performing important nursing skills. There was a shortage of clinical sites before COVID-19, with many schools facing further limitations during the pandemic. Simulation allows educators to continue providing clinical learning experiences where students can execute autonomous decisions and apply their knowledge within a realistic and safe learning environment.

A team of nursing students collaborate in an immersive virtual reality OB simulation
Ready to explore OB simulation in immersive virtual reality? Contact us for a free demo!

Bringing OB Simulation to Immersive Virtual Reality

Virtual simulation modalities are increasingly being used in nursing education to provide high quality experiential learning. Specifically, the use of immersive virtual reality in nursing education is projected to increase from 10% to 45% over the next 5 years. Immersive virtual reality involves the use of a head mounted display that immerses participants in a realistic, simulated clinical environment. This simulation modality adds the elements of immersion and presence as participants develop clinical judgment and key transferable skills for nursing practice. A recent study found that learners using immersive virtual reality were 2.3 times more engaged and emotionally connected to the content than those learning from a computer screen. It has also been demonstrated that learners in immersive virtual reality are up to 4 times more focused during their training when compared with those using a computer.

A nursing student participates in an immersive virtual reality scenario

UbiSim is now bringing OB simulation to immersive virtual reality with our new patient, Amy, who is customizable to a variety of pregnancy-related appearances. This includes the prenatal period, all stages of pregnancy, and the postpartum period. The level of customizability provides a unique opportunity for students to administer evidence-based care to patients across the childbearing spectrum. UbiSim’s menu-free interface allows learners to perform nursing actions and therapeutic communication in their own words as they would in a real-life clinical setting. Using the multiplayer feature, learners can collaborate in teams as they care for the virtual OB patient.  Learners will also gain valuable experience in assessing OB patients and using equipment specific to this setting, including a cardiotocography monitor for the assessment of the fetal heart rate and uterine activity.

Amy is customizable to appear across the childbearing spectrum, from the prenatal to postpartum period

UbiSim’s OB scenarios offer significant advantages over traditional, manikin-based OB simulation. Manikins require teams of specially trained personnel to operate, while immersive VR requires only a single operator. Further, OB simulation manikins require extensive maintenance and set-up, all of which is eliminated with the use of immersive VR. Immersive VR also eliminates the time and effort needed to restage and disinfect the simulation space after each scenario.We will be releasing a series of OB scenarios focused on postpartum hemorrhage, pre-eclampsia, maternal infection, and preterm labor. These scenarios provide a structured OB simulation-based experience in immersive virtual reality. Educators are not limited to our pre-made catalog of scenarios, as they can use our intuitive web-based simulation authoring tool, the UbiSim Editor, to easily customize our premade scenarios to meet the specific needs of their region and learning objectives. Those who wish to create their own scenarios from scratch will find that the Editor offers an intuitive interface and provides effortless guidance to streamline the scenario development process.

Our new patient brings OB simulation to immersive virtual reality

Management of the OB patient is a skillset that is central to the nursing profession. It is also one of the most challenging clinical placements to arrange for nursing students. Simulation offers an evidence-based, validated approach to teaching OB skills to learners. With immersive virtual reality, educators and simulationists can venture beyond the simulation lab as they confidently provide high quality OB scenarios without the time and labor associated with traditional modalities. Immersive VR simulation is an ideal way to provide meaningful OB simulations using advanced technology and cutting-edge pedagogical methods.

Ready to explore OB simulation in immersive virtual reality? Contact us for a free demo!
Interested in trying UbiSim in your healthcare institution?
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