2007 Teaching and Learning Symposium

2:30-4:30 p.m., April 24, 2007
HUB West Ballroom

Session Description


Virtual Reality with Simulation as a Teaching Strategy to Enable Senior Nursing Students to Develop Critical Thinking Skills

Gaylene Altman, Brian Ross, and Alice Acker - Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Care Systems


Education of nursing students is a challenge as society demands high quality care and yet mandates cost-effective reforms. Medical advances have also lead to more complex patient care requirements. Patient safety and favorable outcomes are at the forefront of nursing education. With recent reports of increased morbidity and mortality due to medical and nursing mistakes increased pressure has occurred to consider alternative methods of teaching. Traditional didactic methods tend to rely on passive learning and memorization with limited acquisition of skills and adequate transition into practice. Clinical practicum in hospitals cannot be controlled or paced according to sound educational techniques. Even if faculty attempt to select patients that match the curriculum, there are too many limitations and confounding variables to allow students to progress according to standard plan. In addition because of recent reductions in time for clinical experience it has become difficult to ensure that students receive necessary experience and that graduates are prepared to provide competent and safe care. To alleviate this problem it has been necessary to develop new methods of teaching. One recent technological innovation has been the development of Human Patient Simulators (HPS) which can be directed to respond with physiological changes such variation of vital signs, respiratory and heart sound and create verbal responses. These HPS can be programmed to provide structured, educationally sound, interactive scenarios where students can be closely monitored and practice in a risk-free environment until they have achieved safe outcomes. In recent exercises senior nursing students from the University of Washington engaged in scenarios that closely resembled real life hospital situation using HPS. Students were presented with several acute care situations and were directed to care for patients as if these were actual events. The HPS was programmed to response to appropriate or inappropriate care as delivered by the students. After practicing students were debriefed and the adequacy of care was evaluated. Practice continued until students could achieve criterion based safe care. Through collaboration and partnership with the Institute for Surgery and Interventional Simulation (ISIS) curriculum was developed to allowed team practice with medical and nursing students along with residents. This curriculum was developed to enhance communication between disciplines in acute care events and ensure best outcome for patients.



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