Print this page

Virtual nursing

Regional students prep at home for real-life clinical settings with virtual reality.

Suzanne Morgan uses the VR headset.

Small business owner and mother of four Suzanne Morgan won't miss out on getting a taste of clinical practice, despite living far from your university campus.

Morgan - who lives in Coutts Crossing, a rural village about 18 kilometers south-west of Grafton in NSW - decided to take up nursing on the recommendation of her sister but, with four children and a hairdressing business, felt that on campus study wouldn't have been a viable option, so she enrolled at Western Sydney University Online.

Recently, the university sent her a virtual reality headset to ensure she didn't miss out on prepping for her first clinical practice residential.

The VR addition was intended to save students orientation time while improving their confidence levels.

Dr Cathy Dickson, program director of nursing and health science at Western Sydney Online, said the headsets will help student to familiarise themselves with he new and unfamiliar setting of the clinical practice environment so that they can concentrate on skill development and applying theory to practice.

"With a significant shortage of nurses in regional and remote Australia, advanced training pathways like the use of virtual reality technology will go some way to filling the gap in the health care industry" Dickson said.

"Our online course is designed to provide highly skilled nurses to healthcare facilities across the country""

More than a quarter of the nursing cohort in the university's online offering is based in regional or remote areas.

Dickson said the online offering provides students who have a passion for the profession with the flexibility to gain a degree without having to put their lives on hold.

"Most of our students are studying nursing while raising a family or working part-time and have voiced their thanks for the opportunity to study online."

Published  in Nursing Review, Issue 5
September-October 2018