Using Virtual Reality to Develop Clinical Educators' Skills of Facilitating Challenging Conversations with Students

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Facilitating challenging conversations with struggling nursing students can be a stressful experience for clinical educators (CEs). By addressing identified issues in a timely manner, CEs ensure competent patient care while providing students with an opportunity to improve performance. With little to no opportunity to practice facilitating challenging conversations until the actual interactions, CEs are often unprepared to navigate these conversations. This study aimed to gain CEs’ perspectives on the effectiveness of virtual reality (VR) in facilitating faculty development in navigating these conversations. A mixed-methods approach using a survey with demographic items, open- and close-ended questions, and interviews were implemented at the beginning and end of the Fall 2020 teaching semester with CEs teaching small groups (6-8 students) in the Faculty of Nursing. Data analysis included frequency distribution and thematic analysis. The study found that CEs perceived the VR experience as a beneficial tool to develop their skills. While providing a safe and positive learning environment to practice necessary skills, the VR experience prompted CEs to be actively engaged in their learning as well as enhance their confidence level in how they manage challenging student interactions. CEs suggested that the VR experience could be utilized for both new and experienced educators by incorporating it as a part of orientation and ongoing professional development sessions, respectively. Also, CEs shared that receiving feedback on their performance and making the experience more interactive may further enhance their learning. Gaining CEs’ perspective on the usefulness of the VR experience for faculty development could be beneficial in better supporting CEs in their roles to provide quality learning for the students. With this insight, there is potential to implement the use of VR as a means to support faculty and develop additional learning experiences to build their capabilities as educators.
clinical educators, communication, faculties, professional development, virtual reality
Ibbotson, H. (2022). Using virtual reality to develop clinical educators' skills of facilitating challenging conversations with students (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from