Using Game-Based Virtual Reality with Haptics for Skill Acquisition

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Background: Nurse educators are challenged to find innovative methods to help nursing students develop and remember fundamental skills while ensuring patient safety. Virtual reality (VR) headgear and custom haptic technology combined with game-based learning principles may provide an innovative approach to promoting mastery learning and retention.

Method: This mixed methods pilot study explored the usability of, and user reaction to, a gamebased VR system designed to practice urinary catheterization. Time on task and number of procedures completed in one hour were compared with subjects who practiced traditionally, using a task trainer with faculty oversight. Follow-up skill demonstration was compared two weeks after the practice session.

Results: Subjects (n = 20) rated usability of the VR system favorably; they also rated practicing catheter insertion this way as highly engaging and enjoyable. Subjects using the VR system spent more time practicing (p = .001) and completed more procedures in 1 hour than students who practiced traditionally (p < .001). Follow-up skill demonstration pass rates between groups were identical at 2 weeks.

Conclusion: Practicing nursing skills using game-based VR may be an effective way to promote mastery learning and retention.