Date of Completion

Fall 12-1-2022

Project Type

Research Project

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing - Educational Leadership



Committee Chair/First Advisor

Dr. Anne White


Immersive Virtual Reality as an Effective Alternative to Traditional Clinical Nursing Education: An Integrative Review 


Aim: To assess the usefulness of immersive virtual reality as an effective alternative to traditional face-to-face clinical education for undergraduate nursing students. 

Background:  The Covid-19 pandemic impacted nursing education to a point where change is needed in traditional curricula to meet program outcomes. Virtual Reality (VR) based simulations introduce students to clinical situations in a safe environment and therefore became an effective solution during the pandemic to enhance student learning. Due to the lack of research, regulatory bodies are hesitant to accept VR clinical hours in place of traditional hours.

Design: Integrative review. 

Data Sources: CINAHL Plus, Ovid Nursing Collection, MEDLINE (Ebsco), and Scopus databases, keywords, and inclusion/exclusion criteria were searched. Fourteen studies were selected for inclusion.

Review Methods: Studies were appraised using the Johns Hopkins Nursing Evidence-Based Practice Model (JHNEBP). Thematic analysis was used to generate emerging and recurrent themes with similar concepts.  

Results: Five main themes were identified during thematic analysis: ‘improving student engagement/satisfaction’, ‘improving knowledge/skill acquisition’, ‘complementing traditional teaching/learning methods’, ‘improving clinical reasoning’, ‘barriers to implementation’.

Conclusion: VR enhances learning, improves student engagement, increases knowledge retention and skill acquisition, complements other teaching methods, and augments clinical reasoning. However, further research is needed about the use of VR as an alternative to traditional nursing clinical education. Challenges of implementing this technology include cost and equipment training.