Immersive learning involves the simulation of realistic scenarios and environments that give learners the opportunity to practice skills while interacting with other learners. As a global leader in nursing education, Johns Hopkins School of Nursing (JHSON) is committed to providing the highest level of immersive learning/simulation experience to our students. With the use of virtual reality, augmented reality and robotics, the JHSON is seeking to be a global leader in the digital transformation of immersive learning. With the launching of the Center for Immersive Learning and Digital Innovation in the JHSON, we plan to harness the digital revolution in healthcare and entertainment industries to create virtual reality experiences that will fully engage nursing students with other members of the healthcare team. Virtual reality simulations involving critical care can be a catalyst to identifying factors contributing to medical errors, allowing for redesign of healthcare delivery systems to prevent these errors before they occur. Moreover, as we learned in the pandemic, we can use immersive learning to engage learners in the same room or thousands of miles apart, making a Johns Hopkins School of Nursing degree more accessible to nurses around the country and the world.
Virtual and Augmented Reality can also create realistic primary care learning experiences. Parts of the U.S. have few mental health specialists, especially in rural areas. Virtual reality can immerse psychiatric nurse practitioners with simulations of patients and families and then other members of the healthcare team around a table to discuss treatment plans. The cost of having to travel to Baltimore from California or Texas to engage in simulated experiences with standardized patients (actors portraying patients) will be significantly reduced if we can provide these experiences digitally. Moreover, developing these virtual reality scenarios at Johns Hopkins allows us to leverage the international leaders on faculty in nursing, medicine, and public health. JHSON has already been experimenting with “multi-player” scenarios in which several healthcare team members can take part in virtual reality scenarios at the same time. We plan to develop more of these interdisciplinary scenarios moving forward.
At this very exciting time in the JHSON history, we will continue to work with colleagues in the Schools of Medicine, Public Health and Engineering.