Virtual reality for nursing education


Optimising, exploring, and imagining the use of virtual reality in education of procedures for nurses

av Henrik Kristiansen


This thesis explores and imagines how educational virtual reality (VR) software can be designed to be usable, desirable and engaging for nursing students at NTNU, Trondheim. An existing solution from the research project “VirSam” the Department of Public Health and Nursing is used as a platform for testing and a springboard for new ideas.

Through interviews, observations and user tests the master’s student has found that nursing students experience a feeling of unrealised potential in their education with regards to simulation training, and the possibility for including VR software in the study program is very much welcomed by both students and educators. VirSam’s VR-application application for clinical procedure training represents a good start, however, the application is experienced as too limited regarding functionality and scope to be thought of as a long-term solution for procedure training.

VR in nursing education is first explored through an objective literature study of relevant topics. Subsequently, a process of exploration and insight gathering creates an understanding of the current solution and context of use. The findings are then analysed and concretised to actionable ideas. The ideas focus on meeting the student’s need for scalability and feedback, receiving good feedback by students, educators and other relevant contributors. Additionally, the thesis discovers that using pairs of students, where one is inside VR and the other is observing and subsequently giving feedback, can be of great educational and motivational effect.

Still, the master student’s research suggests that there are unrealised needs in nursing education perceived by the students, which are not met by the new VR solutions alone. The thesis reflects upon the role of VR in nursing education, discussing that it should be based on the inherent strengths and weaknesses of VR, as well as be evaluated against what the students feel is lacking in the education. The master’s student concludes by suggesting and illustrating how VR should be used to simulate more challenging, complex and stressful scenarios than what is presented in VirSam’s solution, exemplified through a future concept.

Further exploration into the presented solution’s end- user effects is needed in order to draw more concrete conclusions on possible next steps. More experimentation on how to integrate VR in nursing education is needed to understand the technology’s role in the context.