Virtual Nursing Education in Second Life

In healthcare the virtual hospitals and clinics are very popular for students and practicing nurses and physicians. The scenarios presented in Second Life are realistic.  One educational activity for the students is to develop and write scenarios. This directs the student's critical thinking beyond the disease and patient; it forces them to also think about diagnostic tests and procedures necessary for the scenario and ultimately the patient.  This elevates the knowledge gathered by the students to a new level.

The student has all the information within the virtual scenario. The marvelous thing about virtual scenarios in Second Life is students are able to participate in the scenario and not harm the patient based on mistakes made during the scenario. It is very important for the student to feel comfortable in their ability to access information while making decisions. The decisions may be correct or they may be partially correct either way the student learns in a realistic, detailed, environment that is safe.  Virtual hospitals in Second Life allow the student Avatar's (see Glossary) to walk through the setting and interact with the various artifacts/objects (see Glossary) in order to gather the information needed. The students are monitored by their clinical instructors and the interaction is in real-time. The clinical instructor and the student are able to converse as if they were standing side by side.

These virtual hospital scenarios take place in virtual emergency rooms, clinics, and hospital units as well as operating rooms and laboratories. The scenarios are taken from real-life situations and the student feels comfortable with gathering information and decision making without the prospect of harming their patients. These virtual scenarios have been shown to boost student self-efficacy in practice. This allows the student to feel more comfortable when interacting with actual patients in their clinical portion of the school curriculum.

Please click on the arrow below and watch a demonstration of a nursing student scenario.