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Winston-Salem State University adds virtual reality training to its nursing program

The virtual reality lab housed at the Center for Design Innovation.
Garrett Garms
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The virtual reality lab housed at the Center for Design Innovation.

Winston-Salem State University is partnering with the University of North Carolina School of the Arts to include virtual reality training in its curriculum for nursing students.

The nearly $800,000 project is funded by the North Carolina Collaboratory, which was created by the General Assembly to conduct research across the UNC System to inform policymaking on the state and local levels.

Under the program, nursing students will start using virtual reality during their junior year to train in clinical environments like hospitals, simulating real-world experiences. Through virtual reality, Leslee Battle — the dean of WSSU’s Health and Sciences School — said the program’s faculty can control what happens to make sure that the students get the most experience and more practice.

“We all know the more that you are repeating certain activities, the better it is retained,” Battle said.

Battle added that the training begins with knowing the fundamentals, like hand washing, and progresses as the student goes through the nursing program.

“We're able to both use it as a learning tool for the students to go through… as well as an assessment,” Battle said. “For example, faculty can add a reminder in a session for the student to wash their hands when they enter a patient’s room; then add an assessment to see if the student remembers to wash their hand during another session.”

According to Battle, Winston-Salem State is the first historically Black college or university in North Carolina to use virtual reality training in its nursing program.

Sharryse Piggott is WUNC’s PM Reporter.
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