“Virtual Hospital” simulates real-life ward to enhance nursing students’ training
During the Covid-19 pandemic, nursing education’s face-to-face teaching and clinical placements at medical institutions have been affected. With a view to enhancing the training and learning experience of nursing students, a research team led by Dr Justina Liu, Associate Professor of School of Nursing, and Dr Kitty Chan, Senior Teaching Fellow of the same school, have developed a virtual learning system “Virtual Hospital” which makes use of virtual reality technology to offer an innovative experiential approach to nursing education.
Virtual Hospital is the first-of-its-kind virtual learning system in Hong Kong that simulates the complex and chaotic environment of a real-life hospital ward. With a total of 11 games, the system provides five scenarios, namely “Clinical Practicum Orientation”, “Challenges of Delirium”, “Managing Multitasks”, “Prevention of Errors” and “Potential Heart Attack”. More than 1,200 combinations of randomised situations and multiple choices make it difficult for students to predict the tasks they will be handling, while they are required to provide instant responses to multitasks and make appropriate nursing decisions through assessing a patient’s condition and interpreting their medical information.
The virtual learning system allows user responses and decisions to be displayed on a TV monitor for group participation, while communication with the virtual patients can be recorded for review. By answering multiple-choice questions, the students can reflect on the judgements and decisions made. In addition, the game data and the system’s automated assessment function also provides convenience for teachers in tracking students’ progress and evaluating learning outcomes.
Virtual Hospital has benefited over 450 nursing students since its launch in January this year. The research team looks forward to the learning system incorporating inter-professional and interdisciplinary elements in the future, and to it being introduced to other nursing institutions in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area as well.