Maine nursing students learn skills through virtual reality

Training in hospitals is limited during the COVID-19 pandemic, but virtual reality fills that gap.

PORTLAND, Maine – Nursing students have had few opportunities to learn in hospitals due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But students in the University of New England School of Nursing and Population Health program are learning skills to prepare for the real world with the help of virtual reality simulations.

During classes at the UNE’s Portland campus, nursing students evaluate a patient using a virtual reality simulation program.

A scenario takes place in a hospital maternity ward. First, students must determine the symptoms of a pregnant patient who had just been sent from their doctor’s office. Students check the reflexes, vital signs of mother and baby.

Through VR nursing, students learn hands-on skills at a time when seeing “real world” hospitalizations is very limited.

“With the challenges of COVID-19, these units are often closed to our students to learn, so being able to experiment in virtual reality has been a great benefit,” said Dawn-Marie Dunbar, director of the Simulation Center. ONE. .

Kathleen Humphries, who is an elderly person on the show, said the sets make her feel like she is in the room with the patient.

“It allows us to examine more critical cases where we need to intervene and call suppliers,” Humphries said.

After students go through a stage, they receive immediate feedback on their mistakes without the stress of “practicing” skills in a real patient.

“A lot of times we can go back and redo the stage and it’s a good opportunity to really learn,” said Katy Hancock, a senior nursing student.

Students are practicing different virtual settings, including pediatric patients and community clinics, to better equip these future nurses to care for patients in any type of environment.

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