JU students use virtual reality to ready for a career in nursing, and it comes at a good time

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville University nursing students are adding a new and fun way to learn.

They’re using virtual reality as one method of training as they get ready for a career in healthcare.

“This is truly innovative,” said Dr. Amber Santos, who is the school’s director of innovation and quality. “This is not done at the average nursing school.”

Hannah Bergin is on her way to becoming a nurse.

This way of learning is taking that training to a new level.

“It actually was pretty easy to navigate,” she said.

Nursing students at Jacksonville University are using virtual reality as a part of their coursework.

Dr. Santos and student success specialist Melissa McRae believe this is true active learning and innovation.

“So far the students love it,” Santos said. “The most common [phrase] used is ‘Wow, that’s cool.’”

“It’s really been ‘A-ha!’ moment for the students,” McRae said.

They are getting a closer look at how the heart valves work and how blood vessels can become clogged with certain diseases.

“It was our first time being able to actually go inside the body and see how different parts of the body work,” Bergin said.

This experience is coming at the right time for her.

“With everything going on now, it might be hard to get into the hospital with that hands-on experience as we used to be able to do due to COVID-19,” Bergin said.

McRae thinks using virtual reality is excellent preparation before the students have to treat actual patients.

“They get to practice things like their clinical judgment and make decisions,” McRae said. “Then they can see the consequences for those actions.”

They have been using virtual reality for about a month now.

It is a part of a year-long partnership between Jacksonville University and Baptist Health.

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