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June 19, 2020

UbiSim’s Customizable Authoring Tool Creates Meaningful, Virtual Reality Simulations for Nursing Students


Maria D'Errico
Director of Simulation & Scholarship

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Innovative nurse educators utilize simulation to provide learning opportunities that are specific to the diverse needs of their communities and patient populations. The ideal simulation platform is highly customizable, simple to learn, and intuitive to use. In simulation, customization is especially important, as educators must present a variety of learning situations that mirror the complex and ever-changing healthcare landscape.

Virtual Reality (VR) is a powerful modality that provides meaningful, impactful simulation experiences. To best meet the widest variety of learning objectives, the ideal VR platform will provide simulations that are ready to use, with an authoring function that allows for robust scenario customization.

Nurse educators now have a user-friendly virtual reality solution that provides the opportunity to create medical simulation experiences to meet their learners’ educational needs. UbiSim offers a unique, fully customizable solution for all levels of pre-licensure nursing education.The UbiSim Editor is a revolutionary, user-friendly authoring tool that empowers nurse educators to customize and design VR simulations. UbiSim is the only immersive VR educational platform focused solely on nursing. 

 Multiple Ways for Nurse Educators to Design and Customize Virtual Simulation Scenarios

The UbiSim Editor can be accessed and utilized from a web browser and a VR headset is not needed for scenario design. Nurse educators can utilize the UbiSim Editor in three distinct ways.

First, educators can choose from the UbiSim library of pre-made scenarios. These scenarios are designed by nursing simulation experts and encompass virtual patients from across the lifespan with a multitude of distinct healthcare needs. The pre-made scenarios feature a user-friendly format, with the reassurance that the VR simulation is evidence-based and designed in accordance with simulation best practice guidelines.

Second, educators can use the Editor to customize the existing UbiSim clinical scenarios. The customizability of UbiSim makes the VR simulation platform truly special, as small alterations to the patient’s condition, social history, or treatment plan can create a completely new experience for students. Customizing the pre-made VR scenarios can be done quickly (in 15 minutes, or less), with the UbiSim Editor seamlessly guiding the educator through the entire process. The ability to generate customizable scenarios helps the educator to meet distinct learning objectives that focus on specific patient populations, wellness goals, and disease processes.

The third way that nursing educators can use the UbiSim Editor is to create their own VR simulation scenarios from scratch. The Editor guides the nurse educator through every step of the simulation design process and ensures that the scenario contains all the elements required for a robust and meaningful student learning experience. However the Editor is used, UbiSim brings the clinical simulation to life in an immersive, engaging, and exciting VR setting in which students can build the knowledge, skills, and attitudes they need to provide safe, high-quality nursing care.

Meeting the Evolving Needs of Nursing Education

UbiSim’s sole focus on nursing education allows the Editor to continuously meet the emerging educational needs of the nursing profession. Cultural competency, the ability of healthcare professionals to meet the social and cultural needs of patients from diverse communities and backgrounds, is at the forefront of nursing education. Nursing students need preparation in how to best care for diverse patient populations. UbiSim VR simulation scenarios feature virtual patients from a multitude of backgrounds. By utilizing the UbiSim platform, students will learn to excel in providing culturally competent nursing care across the lifespan as they progress through every level of their education.

A Variety of Healthcare Settings

The UbiSim Editor allows the nurse educator to stage the simulation in a variety of healthcare settings. In addition to a traditional hospital room, UbiSim simulations can occur in an outpatient healthcare facility. A home care environment is under development and will be available soon. This range of healthcare settings realistically immerses students in situations across the continuum of care. Educators can utilize this functionality of the UbiSim Editor to focus VR simulation scenarios on medically underserved populations in the community.

Preparing Nursing Students for Present and Future Pandemics

The COVID-19 pandemic has revolutionized healthcare delivery. More than ever, nursing education must emphasize the need for precautions and infection prevention when caring for patients. The UbiSim Editor features virtual representations of various isolation precautions and personal protective equipment, including isolation gowns, N95 masks, and face shields. This provides an opportunity for students to care for patients with COVID-19 and other disease processes while learning how to prevent the transmission of infections in the healthcare setting.

Complex Patients and Interdisciplinary Collaboration

The U.S. patient population is growing increasingly complex. UbiSim clinical scenarios fully immerse the students in a virtual training environment where critical thinking can be practiced, demonstrated, and refined. Students in a UbiSim VR scenario assess patients across the lifespan, administer medications, analyze the results of diagnostic tests, and practice therapeutic communication.The UbiSim multiplayer function provides an opportunity for interdisciplinary collaboration by immersing several students into the same simulation scenario. Within a nursing program, students from different levels can collaborate in VR using the multiplayer function to learn delegation and leadership. This helps to build competence and confidence in nursing care, clinical judgment, and teamwork. The ability to utilize scenarios among junior and senior nursing students also capitalizes on the school’s return on investment as multiple classes can benefit from the same simulation resources. This is an especially important feature of the UbiSim platform, as many nursing schools must be resourceful and choose educational platforms that can be maximized to reach all students within a program.

A Nurse Educator’s Perspective

As a nurse educator and simulationist, I appreciate the customizability of the UbiSim platform. With the UbiSim Editor, I have implemented pre-made scenarios, spent a small amount of time to customize an existing scenario to meet specific learning objectives, and developed an entirely new scenario in just hours. I understand firsthand the time constraints on nursing faculty as they provide high quality education to students.  The flexibility of the UbiSim platform will fit your instructional needs, whether you want to implement a pre-made scenario, have 15 minutes to customize a scenario, or desire to design a scenario from scratch. The UbiSim Editor is intuitive and user friendly, allowing educators to focus on the content, rather than the need to learn a complex design tool.Customizing a VR simulation scenario within the UbiSim Editor is an empowering experience for the nurse educator, as it guides you in creating meaningful simulations that best fit your students’ unique learning needs. The customizability also offers a strategy for simulation champions to integrate experiential learning into courses across the nursing curriculum. By making small changes to scenarios, champions can help faculty implement scenarios where students will meet their learning objectives in a safe and immersive environment.

A Collaborative Future for Nursing Education

As educators, we share the goal of providing the best learning experiences and medical training opportunities to our future nurses. UbiSim is dedicated to exclusively serving the nurse educator community. In support of collaboration, UbiSim will be hosting a cloud-based simulation library where educators can voluntarily share scenarios with colleagues. Contact UbiSim for a short demonstration of our Editor and discover the world class UbiSim experience. Jump in and have fun with your scenario design!

Interested in trying UbiSim in your healthcare institution?
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Maria D'Errico
Director of Simulation & Scholarship

Maria was a founding leader of the simulation design team for UbiSim, the world's first immersive VR platform for nursing. Working with partners across the globe, Maria empowered nurse leaders to successfully integrate immersive VR simulation into nursing curricula.

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