CU Nursing - Spring/Summer 2022 - 21

RESE A RCH
21
COVID-19 Sparks
Professors To Create
Virtual Medical
Emergencies for
Students
RESTRICTED FROM CLINICS, CU COLLEGE OF
NURSING GRAD STUDENTS TREATED PATIENTS IN
VIRTUAL SIMULATIONS By Deborah Sherman
T
he emergency room was overflowing with
sick patients. The graduate nursing student
had 15 minutes to figure out what was
wrong with the deathly ill woman, consult
with his colleagues, and get her help. With
the clock ticking, he asked questions about
her medical history and examined her. Was she suffering
from sepsis, bacterial meningitis, gastrointestinal
bleeding, or a number of other life-threatening conditions?
Minutes later, everything froze. Time was up.
The patient and emergency room disappeared as the
program shut down.
Advanced practice registered nurse students at the
University of Colorado College of Nursing immersed
themselves into virtual medical emergencies to simulate
what they could not initially get in the spring
of 2020- real world clinical training and experience.
The pandemic restricted many of them from practicing
in actual clinics with real patients because of limited
physical clinical workspace, and less preceptor availability.
Yet, the students were still required to earn
clinical hours for indirect patient care to graduate. That
prompted the faculty to get creative.
As an alternative to traditional clinical experiences, CU
Nursing faculty Angela D. Pal, PhD, ACNP-BC, CHSE;
Fara Bowler, DNP, APRN, CHSE; Mary Beth Flynn Makic,
PHD, CCNS; and Krista R. Estes, DNP, FNP-C introduced
an established, computer-based virtual simulation for
grad students. In an article just released, the faculty
says the virtual simulation training kept the students
engaged and taught them how to handle emergency
situations almost as well as the real thing.
VR helped
students learn
during the
pandemic
when clinical
rotations were
unavailable.
According to the faculty, while research is limited, a systematic
review found this mode of education improved nursing student
skill-base, cognitive and affective knowledge. It provides an
opportunity to improve patient safety, work effectively as an
interprofessional team, develop communication skills, and
critically think. Simulation facilitates autonomous learning
because the student can repeat the scenario for a more deliberate,
focused experience.
Faculty used the Oxford Medical Simulation (OMS) platform,
which follows best practices in simulations. Students had 15
minutes to assess, diagnose, offer empathy, collaborate with
other providers, analyze the results and the patients' medical
records, and treat the patient.
OMS uses artificial intelligence to adapt to the virtual patients'
conversations, behavior and physiologic responses to the
students' interventions and questions. After the simulation,
students completed a worksheet about the scenario and received
feedback about their encounter.
During the year-long program evaluation, 144 graduate
students volunteered to participate in the virtual clinical
education. According to a survey, 86% of the students said it
accurately reflected clinical practice.
" I found this to be of value to our program... This simulation
includes all the components to complete a full history and
physical, order labs, diagnostics and treat the patient effectively
in a given time, " said one student participant.
With the successful simulation, faculty plan to continue
using virtual reality to enhance student learning and clinical
experience.

CU Nursing - Spring/Summer 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CU Nursing - Spring/Summer 2022

CU Nursing - Spring/Summer 2022 - Cover1
CU Nursing - Spring/Summer 2022 - 2
CU Nursing - Spring/Summer 2022 - 3
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