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Saab, MM;Landers, M;Murphy, D;O'Mahony, B;Cooke, E;O'Driscoll, M;Hegarty, J
Journal of clinical nursing
Nursing students' views of using virtual reality in healthcare: A qualitative study
WOS: 1 ()
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Aims and Objectives This study explored nursing students' views of using virtual reality in healthcare. Background The popularity and use of virtual reality in healthcare delivery and education is on the rise. Yet, the views of future nurses regarding this technology remain underexplored. Design This is a qualitative descriptive study guided by a naturalistic inquiry and reported using the Standards for Reporting Qualitative Research checklist. Methods Nursing students (n = 26) were recruited using convenience and snowball sampling. They were first exposed to a virtual reality intervention aimed to enhance men's awareness of testicular diseases. This was attempted to familiarise participants with the technology and initiate conversations around its use in healthcare. Participants were then interviewed face-to-face, either individually or within focus groups. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. Results Four themes were identified: (i) positive experiences of virtual reality; (ii) challenges to using virtual reality; (iii) settings where virtual reality can be implemented; and (iv) blue-sky and future applications of virtual reality. Participants described this technology as novel, enjoyable, immersive, memorable and inclusive. They questioned, however, the suitability of virtual reality for older adults, reported minor technical difficulties and stressed the importance of prior preparation in the use of the technology. Virtual reality was recommended for use in outpatient healthcare settings, schools and the community. Participants suggested using virtual reality in health promotion, disease prevention and management, and to promote nurses' empathy towards patients. Conclusions Findings highlight the potential role of virtual reality in assisting nurses in promoting health and managing disease. Future research is needed to establish the long-term effect of virtual reality interventions among more diverse participants. Relevance to clinical practice Virtual reality can be implemented in outpatient, educational and community settings in order to promote health, prevent disease, enhance disease and self-management, and increase nurses' empathy towards patients.
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