The Multifold Use of Virtual Environments in Nursing

Weiß, Sebastian and Kowalski, Christian and Cobus, Vanessa and Heuten, Wilko
Zukunft der Pflege Tagungsband der 2. Clusterkonferenz
Virtual reality (VR) is a tool with increasing use in training and research. It enables users to train a controllable, time and safety-critical scenario in a safe environment, which is crucial in nursing education. The establishment of more practical learning environments to create an intermediate link between school and practical institutions requires financial and personal effort. VR can also be used for rapid prototyping cycles of a range of tools and interaction designs. This low-cost prototyping can be advantageous compared to other techniques and may also be used in the design and layout of environments, for example placement of medical devices in a patients room, fire escape routes, and other critical environments. We propose concepts for the multiple uses of a VR research environment (VRE) in health care and nursing to facilitate research in the corresponding working environments. Based on interview interviews and focus groups we gather the requirements for the environment and possible interactions with it. Once an environment is digitally recreated, there are opportunities for a range of other use cases. Preliminary results show a good acceptance from nursing and research communities. We set up a virtual intensive care unit (ICU), modeled after a real one, to study immersion effects and research possibilities during a typical nursing task. As a cost effective system, VR is superior to the expensive skills labs used in nursing education or lab environments used in research. It will be interesting to see how an immersive environment impact education and HCI research.