Virtual reality: the next step in nursing education?
With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the way in which student nurses and other trainee health professionals develop knowledge and skills for practice rapidly changed. There was already a move towards the use of simulation within nursing education, with some arguing that high-quality simulation could replace some elements of practice learning. The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) faced calls to consider a reduction of clinical hours required for nursing registration (Royal College of Nursing, 2017). Supporters of a move towards more simulated methods of learning suggested that the requirements put excessive pressure on already busy clinical areas and could even deter potential applicants (Mitchell, 2019).
In late 2021, the NMC announced that the flexible use of simulated practice would continue to be accepted and encouraged following the implementation of post-COVID-19 recovery standards (NMC, 2021). These allow education providers to use up to 300 hours of practice learning requirement within a simulated learning environment.
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