School of Science, Engineering & Environment 19.09.20

Nursing students immersed in virtual reality as part of real-life training

Nursing student’s knowledge, skills and confidence were put to the test as basic life support training moved from the traditional classroom environment to a truly immersive experience. 

Nursing student’s knowledge, skills and confidence were put to the test as basic life support training moved from the traditional classroom environment to a truly immersive experience. 

The University has completed a 3-year project that trialed training nurses dealing with critical life support situations in an immersive 3D environment where experiences meet sight, sound and touch. 

The Octave is the University’s world-class facility where virtual reality can be experienced to influence the way we live, work and learn.  More than 200 second year nursing students were involved in this innovative project that explored the effectiveness of this new way of teaching.

Melanie Rushton, Lecturer in Adult Nursing said: “Preparing our students for real-life scenarios is critical to the training that we provide.  We have excellent facilities with this project allowing us to take the nursing students experience that little further by making the training as real as possible. 

“Using a truly immersive environment for the training, the students were taken out of there comfort zone and really had to think as the scenario was happening.  We found that using this kind of teaching method improved the confidence and resilience of the nurses to deal with stressful situations.

The projects brought together two schools at the University, Health & Society and the School of Science Engineering & Environment who worked collaboratively on this digital project that pushed the boundaries for learning. 

John O’Hare, The Octave Technical Director said: “By using a facility like The Octave, we were able to create different scenarios for the nurses.  We simulated a 3D virtual experience where a nurse had to deal with a patient on a roadside. As the trainee nurse you were immersed in a real-world environment where you can hear the sounds on the streets, sirens and people passing by. By providing that real-life environment, what they were practising and the actions that they were taking felt real. “

The Octave is unique to the university with this being the first time the university has used the facility for the training of nurses.

To read the paper published on this study that was co-authored by Melanie Rushton, Simon Campion, Ian Drumm and John O’Hare click here