Deteriorating patient training using non-immersive virtual reality: a descriptive qualitative study

Heidi Singleton*, Janet James, Simone Penfold, Liz Falconer, Jacqueline Priego-Hernandez, Debbie Holley, David Burden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Recent nurse education pedagogical strategies are starting to embrace the use of virtual patient simulations in higher education settings. This study evaluated student, simulation technician and lecturer perspectives on student performance following virtual training for care of a deteriorating diabetic patient. Second year nursing students learned using a virtual patient simulation which was a follow-up of a randomised controlled trial which took place during the academic year 2017/2018. Group and individual interviews were conducted comprising the 21 staff and students involved in the virtual reality simulation in four individual lecture sessions. Five themes emerged from this study: engagement, immersion, confidence, knowledge, and challenges. Student participants found that the virtual reality exercise aided their understanding of the complex concepts associated with hypoglycaemia, provided immediate feedback about their clinical decisions, could be completed multiple times and that it provided more opportunities for safe practice, complimenting their ward and clinical skills experiences. Simulation technicians and lecturing staff also recognised these benefits but identified challenges, including time and cost constraints. We recommend further research into potential benefits and challenges, including likely consequences of increased use of virtual reality technologies for nurse education curriculum design.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-681
JournalCIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing
Issue number11
Early online date8 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2021


  • Diabetes care
  • Nurse education
  • Virtual reality
  • Virtual technologies


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