Desktop Virtual Reality Versus Face-to-Face Simulation for Team-Training on Stress Levels and Performance in Clinical Deterioration: a Randomised Controlled Trial

This article was originally published here

J Gen Intern Med. 2022 May 2. doi: 10.1007/s11606-022-07557-7. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Simulation-based education can equip healthcare providers with the ability to respond to and manage stressors associated with rapidly deteriorating patient situations. However, little is known about the benefits of using virtual reality (VR) for this purpose.

OBJECTIVE: To compare between desktop VR and face-to-face simulation in stress responses and performance outcomes of a team-based simulation training in managing clinical deterioration.

DESIGN: A randomised controlled study METHOD: The study was conducted on 120 medical and nursing students working in interprofessional teams. The teams were randomly assigned to participate in a 2-h simulation using either the desktop VR or face-to-face simulation with simulated patient (SP). Biophysiological stress response, psychological stress, and confidence levels were measured before and after the simulation. Performance outcomes were evaluated after the simulation using a deteriorating patient scenario.

RESULTS: The systolic blood pressure and psychological stress response was significantly increased among participants in VR and SP groups; however, no significant differences were found between the groups. There was also no significant difference in confidence and performance outcomes between participants in the VR and SP groups for both medical and nursing students. Although the psychological stress response was negatively correlated (r = -0.43; p < 0.01) with confidence levels, there was no association between stress response and performance score.

CONCLUSION: Despite being less immersive, the desktop VR was capable of inducing psychological and physiological stress responses by placing emotional, social, and cognitive demands on learners. Additionally, by ensuring close alignment between the simulation tasks and the clinical tasks (ie functional fidelity), the desktop VR may provide similar performance outcomes as conventional simulation training. This evidence is timely given the rise in the use of virtual learning platforms to facilitate training during the COVID-19 pandemic where face-to-face training may not be feasible.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: The study was registered at NCT04330924.

PMID:35501626 | DOI:10.1007/s11606-022-07557-7


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