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What the Data Tell Us About the UbiSim VR Platform for Nursing Simulation [2024]



This research brief explores the profound impact of virtual reality (VR) in nursing education and focuses on the UbiSim immersive VR platform for nursing simulation. By analyzing a peer-reviewed study, a dissertation project, and a survey conducted by UbiSim, we provide a comprehensive evaluation of VR's efficacy and highlight how UbiSim contributes to the future of nursing education.

I. Peer-Reviewed Research: Key Findings About Immersive VR

The paper “Appraising Occupational Therapy Students' Perceptions of Virtual Reality as a Pedagogical Innovation” explores the emerging role of virtual reality (VR) in enhancing educational experiences in occupational therapy. VR's potential as a transformative tool in education has gained attention due to its ability to simulate complex, real-world environments, providing immersive learning experiences.


  1. Pedagogical Value of VR: The study found that VR offers a unique, immersive learning experience that students perceive positively, especially when it involves a high level of interaction and immersion. 
  1. Preferred Applications: Students expressed a strong preference for VR applications that allowed them to practice clinical skills and understand complex concepts like anatomy and patient care. They liked how the immersive nature of VR created a safe space in which to build their confidence.
  1. Technology Adoption Challenges: Despite enthusiasm, there are challenges related to adapting to new technologies, ensuring accessibility, and managing the cognitive load associated with immersive environments. The study highlighted the need for adequate training and resources to leverage VR effectively.
  1. Comparative Value: While VR is favored for certain types of learning, it is not intended to replace traditional methods entirely but rather to supplement them. The effectiveness of VR varied based on the level of technological immersion and the educational content.

Implications for UbiSim:

The research presents VR as a promising pedagogical tool that can significantly enhance learning experiences in occupational therapy and other medical fields. It emphasizes the need for further studies to comprehensively understand VR's impact and optimize its integration into educational curriculums. For platforms like UbiSim, this study provides valuable insights into the development and implementation of immersive VR, indicating its potential as a leading solution in the future of nursing education.

II. Dissertation Research: Key Findings About Accuracy, Clinical Judgment, and Soft Skills 

The study “Evaluating a Virtual Reality Simulation-Based Tool in Undergraduate Nursing Students for Impact on Accuracy, Clinical Judgment, Fear, and Self-Confidence when Donning, Doffing, and Disposing of Personal Protective Equipment” aimed to determine the effectiveness and acceptability of head-mounted virtual reality simulation VR in teaching PPE procedures to nursing students. It focused on evaluating the impact of VR on accuracy, clinical judgment, fear, and self-confidence and sought to understand its acceptability among faculty and students for PPE training.

The study utilized a small group evaluation design with repeated measures among 38 undergraduate nursing students at West Virginia University. Various validated scales and checklists were used to measure outcomes like accuracy, clinical judgment, and self-confidence. Statistical analysis was conducted to evaluate differences and changes over time.


  1. Enhanced Accuracy and Clinical Judgment: The study's results suggest that VR can improve accuracy in donning, doffing, and disposing of PPE, especially with repeated practice. Improvements in clinical judgment were observed, suggesting that VR can help students become more organized and aware of clinical situations over time.
  2. Reduction in Fear: A significant decrease in fear was noted among students using VR, implying a reduction in anxiety and unease related to PPE procedures.
  3. Increase in Self-Confidence: Students reported higher self-confidence levels after using the VR tool, indicating a preference for this modality over traditional methods.
  4. Acceptance Among Faculty and Students: Despite some previous skepticism, the study found a growing acceptance of VR among faculty for teaching PPE procedures, contrary to some previous studies. Students expressed high acceptance and preference for VR, finding it supportive and life-like. This generation's familiarity with virtual environments for recreation likely contributes to this acceptance, suggesting that VRS is a fitting learning tool for contemporary students. The realistic scenarios provided by VR were particularly appreciated for their contribution to learning.

Implications for UbiSim:

By demonstrating improved accuracy, clinical judgment, fear reduction, and self-confidence among students, the study supports adopting innovative platforms like UbiSim for enhanced learning outcomes. This study provides substantial evidence supporting the use of immersive virtual reality, like UbiSim, as a pedagogically proven and preferred modality for nursing education, particularly for critical skills like PPE procedures. As the healthcare industry and students’ learning preferences continue to evolve, utilizing innovative educational tools like UbiSim will be vital for enhancing learning outcomes.

III. Survey Research: Key Insights About User Experience and Trends

The 2023 Nursing Simulation Survey was conducted by UbiSim, which created the world’s first immersive virtual reality (VR) training platform built specifically for nurses. UbiSim surveyed 1,276 nurse learners, instructors, simulation directors, and program administrators on the practical benefits of immersive VR technology in nurse training. Current UbiSim customers comprised 92% of respondents, as the platform is already in use in thirteen countries. The survey was conducted online from November 7-28, 2023.

Nurse Instructor Survey: Views of the Challenges in Nursing Education

The survey subset of 957 self-identified nursing instructors revealed three particular areas of concern within their nurse training programs. 


  1. Disengagement and Attention Spans: Disengaged learners and/or shorter attention spans present the most pressing challenge according to 34% of the cohort of nursing instructors. With the rise of digital technology and instant gratification, people are facing increasing difficulty in maintaining focus during lectures and clinical training. Nurse educators must find innovative ways to capture learners' attention and foster active engagement. More dynamic teaching methods using gamification, interactive simulations, and collaborative learning are potential solutions.
  1. Training for High-Acuity Events: Training learners for high-acuity, low-occurrence events is a concern for 31% of the nursing instructors surveyed. Developing critical judgment and communication skills in nurse learners is essential to improving next-gen NCLEX nursing licensing examination scores. Realistic simulations and hands-on experiences in a safe learning environment can help nurse learners develop clinical reasoning, collaboration skills, and resilience to become adequately prepared for high-pressure, life-or-death situations.
  1. Limited Space for Enrollment: The demand for nursing education exceeds the available capacity in many institutions. In fact, 84% of the nursing instructors surveyed by UbiSim affirmed their nursing program has denied acceptance to qualified applicants because of a lack of simulation facilities and resources. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, nearly 78,200 qualified applicants (not just applications) were declined by nursing schools in 2022, due to ”insufficient clinical placement sites, faculty, preceptors, and classroom space, as well as budget cuts.”

Nurse Learner Survey: Opinions About VR in Nurse Training

The survey subset of 204 self-identified nurse learners highlighted the growing fascination and practicality of immersive VR within their nurse training programs. 


  1. Effectiveness of Headset-Based VR: 84% found headset-based VR comparable or better than other simulation modalities, with 34% definitely preferring it over alternatives.
  1. Preparation for Professional Practice: 75% of nurse learners feel that headset-based VR simulations aid in their preparation for becoming a nurse, with 65% agreeing it helps them get ready for the Next Gen NCLEX exam.
  1. Preference for VR-Based Simulations: 43% of nurse learners prefer VR-based simulations, with an even split between headset-based VR and computer screen-based immersive experiences. A large cohort of 37% still prefer live role-play with actors, but only 19% favor manikins.

Implications for UbiSim:

The findings from these surveys clearly indicate that both nursing instructors and students recognize the value of immersive VR in education. With a significant portion of nursing students expressing a preference for VR-based simulations, UbiSim is at the forefront of this educational revolution. UbiSim's ability to simulate high-acuity, low-occurrence events in a safe and controlled environment makes it an invaluable tool for developing critical clinical judgment and communication skills.

IV. Research Study: Key Findings About Psychological Safety and Clinical Judgment

The School of Nursing at Niagara College conducted a research study led by Professor of Nursing Dr. Holldrid Odreman (PhD, MScN-Ed, RN, CCNE, CCSNE). This study aimed to enhance psychological safety in nursing students to improve their performance and clinical decision-making skills. The focus was on identifying which simulation pre-briefing method most effectively boosts student confidence and performance, while also fostering a supportive learning environment. 

Dr. Odreman and his team compared three pre-briefing strategies: traditional, concept-mapping, and virtual reality (VR). A total of 38 volunteer nursing students were randomly assigned to one of the three pre-briefing groups. Each group received a 20-minute pre-briefing session specific to their assigned method, intended to prepare them for a nursing simulation scenario. The design of the study aimed to assess how each pre-briefing strategy influenced students' psychological comfort and clinical decision-making abilities.


  • Both VR-based pre-briefing and concept mapping were effective in creating a sense of psychological safety among participants.
  • Interaction during pre-briefing sessions enhanced active learning and critical thinking.
  • Increased psychological safety correlated with improved clinical reasoning and judgment.
  • Notably, the pre-briefing intervention using the UbiSim immersive VR simulation achieved the highest scores on the Lasater Clinical Judgment rubric, indicating its effectiveness in fostering clinical reasoning skills.

Implications for UbiSim Adoption:

The findings indicate that adopting UbiSim's Immersive VR platform could significantly enhance the pre-briefing process, leading to improved psychological safety, better clinical judgment as demonstrated by its high scores on the Lasater Clinical Judgment rubric, and more effective preparation of nursing students. 

Conclusion: UbiSim and the Future of Nursing Simulation

This research brief highlights how UbiSim aligns with the evolving needs and preferences in nursing education, offering a new way to prepare learners for real-world nursing challenges. As an evidence-based platform with immersive virtual reality (VR) experiences, UbiSim helps address the critical gaps in traditional nursing education by enhancing knowledge transfer, student engagement, and clinical preparedness.

In a time of limited resources and increasing demand for nurses, VR simulation technology has become an essential educational tool. UbiSim is bridging the gap between the demand for and supply of qualified nursing professionals by expanding the capacity of nurse training programs and providing standardized and scalable simulations that enhance educational impact.


American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2022, October). Nursing Faculty Shortage Fact Sheet. [pdf] Retrieved from

Kim, J., Nowrouzi-Kia, B., Ho, E. S., Thomson, H., & Duncan, A. (2023). Appraising occupational therapy students' perceptions of virtual reality as a pedagogical innovation. Computers & Education: X Reality, 3, 100039. Retrieved from 

MacDowell, P., Cabri, A., & Davis, M. (2021, March 12). Medication administration errors. Patient Safety Network. Retrieved from 

Ondis, A. (2023, December 6). 2023 UbiSim Survey Reveals the Impact of Immersive VR Simulation on Nurse Education. [blog] Retrieved from 

Russell, S. L. (2023). Evaluating a Virtual Reality Simulation-Based Tool in Undergraduate Nursing Students for Impact on Accuracy, Clinical Judgment, Fear, and Self-confidence when Donning, Doffing, and Disposing of Personal Protective Equipment. Retrieved from 

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