The future is now for School of Nursing and Population Health students learning through virtual reality

Virtual reality is helping students practice on simulated patients
Nursing students are practicing on simulated patients through virtual reality

Virtual reality (VR) is helping to transform the way we teach our next generation of health care providers.

UNE was the first in the country to use the Oxford Medical Simulation (OMS) state-of-the-art virtual reality program, giving students in the School of Nursing and Population Health realistic experiences treating patients.

The VR training was recently featured on NEWS CENTER Maine.

"It does allow us to screen for more critical cases where we need to do interventions and call providers,” Kathleen Humphries, (Nursing, ’22) told NEWS CENTER Maine.

The use of VR training for students is especially important now. Because of the COVID-19 protocols, it is more difficult getting students into hospitals and schools for hands-on training.

"With the challenges of COVID-19, oftentimes those units are closed to our students for learning, so being able to get the experience through virtual reality has been a huge benefit," Dawn-Marie Dunbar, M.S.N./Ed., director of the Interprofessional Simulation and Innovation Center, said.

This immersive virtual reality platform advances students educational experience by allowing them to practice treating patients in a simulated, virtual environment, enhancing skills such as clinical reasoning, decision making, and patient/team communication.

This additional opportunity for structured practice results in increased learner competence and confidence in managing complex care.

After the students run through a scenario, they get immediate feedback on any mistakes they may have made.

"A lot of times we can go back in and redo the scenario and it's a good opportunity to really learn," Katy Hancock, (Nursing, ’22) commented to NEWS CENTER Maine.

UNE is the only institution in Northern New England offering students training on the OMS program.

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Nursing student in the sim lab
A nursing students prepares to go through a simulation lab program
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Sim lab students
Nursing students Kathleen Humphries and Katy Hancock being interviewed for news report
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Dawne-Marie Dunbar being interviewed
Dawne-Marie Dunbar being interviewed by NEWS CENTER Maine's Vivien Leigh

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