Webinar: Transforming Nursing Education: Embracing Virtual Reality in Training

Rosie Ribeira
Jul 02, 2024

On June 11, 2024, HealthySimulation.com hosted a webinar in partnership with SimX titled “Transforming Nursing Education: Embracing Virtual Reality in Training.” Lance Baily of HealthySimulation.com hosted with presenters Kendal Bailey, PhD(c), RN, Director of Nursing Innovation and Strategy at SimX, and Reid Hirsch, BSN, RN, Nursing Professional Development Director at Kaiser Permanente.


Kendal Bailey and Reid Hirsch gave a live presentation to equip nursing educators with the foundational knowledge of Virtual Reality (VR) tools and their use in nursing education and service to enhance learning experiences. They also presented primary research on a pilot study they completed, which showcases the benefits of SimX’s Virtual Reality Medical Simulation System (VRMSS) for nurses within the hospital setting. 


VR and Nursing Education


This webinar began with a comprehensive discussion on VR in nursing education and how the nursing field can especially benefit from new and emerging VR technologies for simulation. Bailey explained that nursing educators are often tasked with figuring out how to create low-risk, safe, engaging learning environments for adult learners to develop great clinical thinking skills and clinical reasoning skills while applying theoretical knowledge. 


With VR programs like SimX, nursing educators can now meet the diverse needs of student populations and diverse needs of patient populations with a variety of acuities, ethnicities, and ages. This representation is nearly impossible even with very high-fidelity traditional manikin simulations. 


When it comes to meeting the needs of nursing students and educators, Bailey stated that: “There’s not magically going to be more nurses and faculty, and constraints are only getting harder and harder. You have to find companies and programs with enough training, faculty support, and flexibility to meet your needs. You can use SimX in a faculty-restricted environment and still be successful because it can be customized to fit your needs.” 


From the Experts


Kendal Bailey and Reid Hirsch discussed a variety of uses for virtual simulation and outlined the benefits of Virtual Reality training. Refer to the full webinar on Healthysimulation.com to view all sources cited throughout the presentation. As Hirsch said during the webinar, “The benefits [of VR] are endless, and the research supports that!” 


  • VR improves knowledge and is more effective than conventional training methods.
  • VR can apply theoretical knowledge through complex scenarios.
  • VR results in more psychological and cognitive responses than Traditional simulation.
  • The benefits of simulation-based learning include knowledge retention and confidence-building.
  • VR simulations can provide a more realistic and captivating environment, increasing engagement and student motivation.


Pilot Study


The main topic of this webinar was the primary research presented by the two presenters. Please refer to the webinar for full details. We will include a quick overview of the project and highlights from the presentation here. 


Kendal Bailey and Reid Hirsch participated in and led a pilot study to assess the acceptability and likeability of Virtual Reality simulation as an educational tool. Technology adoption is a major consideration for institutions worldwide when introducing VR into their simulation curriculum. By collecting and analyzing user responses to VR simulation training, these experts were able to observe whether adoption would be successful and effective for learners. 


This study targets registered nurses of diverse ages and backgrounds within a community-based hospital. It utilized SimX, an immersive VR simulation software program that could be accessible anywhere for the participants. A post-evaluation, including a Likert Scale and open-ended questions, was used to explore nurses’ acceptance of VR technology in professional nursing education. 




Participants of this expert-led pilot study reported that, 

  • VR simulation supported their work as a nurse
  • VR simulation created an effective learning environment
  • VR simulation will improve the quality of care provided as a registered nurse
  • Overall, participants reported that VR simulation increased their motivation for learning 


Some themes were also identified across participant responses. Overall, SimX VRMSS supports critical thinking, creates a safe space for learning, supports the development of professional skills, provides an arena for team building, and encompasses a high level of realism that supports learner engagement. 


Q&A Highlights


There was great participation from the webinar’s live audience. Here are a few questions that were asked and answered during the presentation.


  1. How can simulations be used in a psychiatric hospital to teach staff hands-on techniques in dealing with psychiatric emergencies?

One of the greatest benefits of VR training is how it can help with mental health-related patient encounters! Treating mental health and psychiatric patients isn’t just about verbal cues but also about nonverbal cues. High-fidelity manikins simply don’t have the capability to successfully simulate those important nonverbal responses that practitioners need to be aware of, process, and create a safe space for. 


Using VR, learners can safely work through how to de-escalate patients and build communication skills to keep themselves and the patient safe. With SimX patient encounters, we want to get learners to a place where they can understand, see, and feel these vital patient interactions. This will create clinical thinking pathways so practitioners can respond appropriately in real-life situations.


To truly take advantage of immersive and realistic psychiatric patient encounters offered through SimX, explore our marketplace of over 250 scenarios! By leveraging both SimX scenarios and other simulation instruction, you can provide nursing students and practitioners with the training, strategies, processes, and resources they need to feel confident assessing and treating psychiatric patients. 


  1. Does SimX have a recording feature?

Yes, SimX scenarios all have a recording feature for educators and facilitators to record, analyze, and provide learners with comprehensive feedback. Facilitators can toggle through multiple views while recording to get a complete view of learners’ progress throughout the scenario. Recordings can be utilized as evidence of the effectiveness of VR simulation training and even broken up into clips to show during supplemental lectures. 


  1. Do you have any directions or advice for getting started with SimX and growing a VR Sim program?

There’s no one “right” way to integrate SimX VR into your simulation program. How to start and how to grow depends on the course learning objectives, faculty restraints, and budget needs. The good news is that SimX can be customized to fit any institution, learner needs, and faculty restraints. 


Here are a few tips from the webinar that could help make the transition into VR simulation training easier and more accessible. 


Tip One: Make it Easy

The best way to start utilizing VR at your institution is to make it as easy as possible for both faculty and students to orient to the SimX virtual environment. Many SimX customers have integrated orientations using SimX tutorial sessions and the SimX sandbox, where users can “play around” and get used to the controls and functionality they will experience across all scenarios. “Start off gentle,” Bailey says, “and scale up to more difficult scenarios.” 


Another way to make it easy and incorporate a gentle approach could be to invite other faculty and administrators to attend more webinars and learn from experts how to make these technologies more accessible for everyone.


Tip Two: The VR Champion

A VR champion is often an early adopter, someone who has become familiar with SimX but can also speak the language and address your institution’s needs from a peer perspective. Perhaps that VR champion could be a colleague, another SimX customer, or you! Become a VR Champion by engaging with more SimX content, learning more at conferences where SimX is in attendance, or requesting a SimX demo. 


Tip Three: Learn From Use Cases

When it comes to technology adoption, many users want to see others go first. Luckily, hundreds of SimX users have already successfully integrated SimX into their simulation curriculum. Here are some applications of SimX contributed by users to give you some ideas of how you can use VR simulation:

  • Clinical skills training
  • Emergency response training
  • Communication skills development
  • Clinical reasoning and critical thinking skills
  • Team coordination and multi-disciplinary training


Remember that VR does not need to replace your current simulation program; instead, it can be an amazing addition and accessible supplement to more traditional simulation training.


Tip Four: Contact a SimX Representative

Are you still unsure where to start? Contact a SimX representative, and you can get started with demos. We can also discuss more use cases so you feel confident with VR and are equipped to build your own SimX curriculum. The best way to adopt VR technologies is to get into a headset and experience firsthand everything SimX has to offer. Only then can you truly know the best way to introduce, integrate, and grow your VR sim program. 

Watch the full webinar on transforming nursing education here at Healthysimulation.com.


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