Virtual Reality – A New Practical Educational Method for Surgical Nursing Training


Virtual Reality is a technology allows its users to immerse themselves in the environment simulated. One of the largest problems facing graduated or student nurses from entering a surgical room, are confidence and experience. Unfortunately, modern simulation or practical learning lessons are not enough to prepare student nurses for the challenges they face in a surgical room.

The opportunities and effectiveness that would stem from switching to Virtual Reality based simulation for student surgical nurses is an interesting field of pedagogy and learning. According to the literature, specifically in the field of orthopedic surgery, there are opportunities for VR methods from the traditional methods of mannequins and actors with scripts.

Virtual Reality simulations and practical lessons may not dramatically improve the skills of a student nurse, nor does it compensate for real practice in a surgical ward. However, VR will dramatically improve the self-confidence of a nursing student and marginally the surgical skills of a student nurse for the rigors of an operating room. As the technology improves, so should the ability VR technology provide a more realistic environment with endless simulative opportunities.

Needless to say, using VR does not come without any negatives of their function. Virtual Reality is a very expensive technology that requires a higher education institution to invest a large sum of money to develop a specific program tailored to the institution’s requirements for a pedagogical tool.

Furthermore, aside from the large investment, it requires for time and skills to develop the teaching staff to use the technology, a nursing curriculum that incorporates VR effectively and time to develop and discuss with the IT development teams in charge of developing and creating the software tailored to the needs of students and staff. These kinds of issues that need resolving are inevitable when something that is new, it is incorporated into education.

Moreover, the problems that VR have include its propensity to give biological female users, a higher increased risk of cybersickness; a sickness similar to motion sickness that can cause vomiting, nausea, migraines and headaches.

Turku University of Applied Sciences have great opportunities to design new pedagogical solutions using VR technology in nursing education. One of these efforts is related to 360ViSi project in which surgical instrument regocnition game and post operative patient observation applications are currently under construction.



Felipe Jokinen
Degree Programme in Nursing
Turku UAS

Tiina Nurmela
Principal Lecturer
Degree Programme Leader, Nursing education
Turku UAS