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Diabetes care, Nurse education, Virtual reality, Virtual technologies



  1. Singleton, Heidi PhD
  2. James, Janet PhD
  3. Penfold, Simone RN
  4. Falconer, Liz PhD
  5. Priego-Hernandez, Jacqueline PhD
  6. Holley, Debbie PhD
  7. Burden, David CEng, EUR ING


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 after 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 randomized controlled trial that 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 hypoglycemia, provided immediate feedback about their clinical decisions, could be completed multiple times, and provided more opportunities for safe practice, complimenting their ward and clinical skills experiences. Simulation technicians and lecturing staff also recognized 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.