National University launches virtual reality nursing program

COVID-19 has restricted some of the clinical learning experiences for students pursuing a healthcare career — but a new virtual reality pilot program at National University in San Diego is providing nursing students a clinical experience in a simulated world. 

The eight-week program provides 120 hours of simulated training where nursing students conduct clinical tasks such as listening to lung sounds, assessing wounds, taking blood pressure and monitoring oxygen levels, among others. Students are monitored by an instructor who can customize the virtual patient's response.

So far, about 40 students have completed the program, according to a Feb. 3 announcement.  

The initiative is being funded by several agencies, including a two-year $200,000 federal grant and a $50,000 grant from Las Patronas, a local philanthropic organization that enabled the program to purchase 70 virtual reality headsets. 

A total of 80 additional nursing students are expected to receive the simulation training by the end of the grant period in 2022. 

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