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Virtual Reality Simulation in Nursing and Midwifery Education

Oral Presentation 6
Dr Brendan Noonan, Ms Megan McCarthy, Mr Billy O'Mahony, Mr Eoghan Cooke, Prof Josephine Hegarty, Dr David Murphy, Ms Nuala Walshe, Dr Mohamad Saab

Virtual Reality Simulation in Nursing and Midwifery Education

Introduction: Virtual reality (VR) includes a variety of computer based applications commonly associated with immersive, highly visual, 3D characteristics that allow the participant to look about and navigate within a seemingly real or physical world (Lopreiato et al. 2020). VR simulation offers students the opportunity to acquire clinical and psychomotor skills in a safe and interactive environment. There is little evidence on the use of clear theoretical and pedagogical models to inform the design and use of VR in virtual learning environments (Fowler 2015). Moreover, the evidence on the feasibility of incorporating this innovative learning and teaching technology in nursing and midwifery education is lacking.

Objectives: To describe the usability of VR simulation among nursing and midwifery students, as well as their level of satisfaction with VR simulation, and explore their experiences of engaging with VR simulation.

Methods: Participants were recruited using convenience and snowball sampling and engaged in a 20-minute virtual reality simulation scenario of their choice. They then completed a 21-item survey comprising a sociodemographic questionnaire, the System Usability Scale, a satisfaction questionnaire, and open-ended questions. Quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, and qualitative data were analyzed using deductive content analysis.

Outcomes: Forty-three students participated in this study. The mean (SD) System Usability Scale score was 75.87 (13.7), indicating that virtual reality simulation was acceptable. Almost all participants were either “extremely satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with virtual reality simulation, which was perceived as informative and enjoyable, fostering safe and self-directed learning without causing patient harm. Participants recommended using virtual reality simulation to practice clinical skills, prepare for clinical placements, and learn about rare clinical situations.

Conclusions: The space for VR needs to be primed a priori, particularly given that the development and deployment of VR simulation are resource heavy. The undertaking of a pilot study is recommended to help identify the most effective means of leveraging VR simulation and mitigate unforeseen problems. Virtual reality simulation, although novel and engaging, becomes futile if not underpinned by a strong pedagogy and aligned with learning outcomes. Key stakeholders including students and educators need to be trained in VR use prior to implementing VR simulation.


  1. Lopreiato JO, Downing D, Gammon W, et al. The Terminology & Concepts Working Group. Healthcare Simulation Dictionary. 2nd ed. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; 2020: https;//,ationv2
  2. Fowler C. Virtual reality and learning: where is the pedagogy? British Journal of Educational Technology. 2015;46(2): 412 - 422.