Hancock nursing student Jeffrey Rehkopf examines a “patient” in the college’s new virtual reality training program
Hancock nursing student Jeffrey Rehkopf examines a “patient” in the college’s new virtual reality training program Credit: Allan Hancock College photo

On April 6, a group of students in the college’s Licensed Vocational Nursing (LVN) program donned VR headsets to apply the skills they’ve been learning in the classroom to an immersive virtual simulation. This was only the second time the new technology had been used by the program’s students. 

“We are very excited about this new tool,” said LVN Program Director Eileen Donnelly, RN, MSN. “It allows the students to get immersed in a scenario where they can interact with a patient in crisis and can work through the situation and learn in a safe environment.”

While virtual simulations have long been used in other industries – such as training commercial drivers and pilots – Donnelly said its use in training nurses is relatively new, making Hancock one of just a handful of nursing programs to utilize it. 

The software for the simulations was created by Ubisim and allows nursing program instructors to create several real-life medical scenarios. Students use Meta Quest VR headsets and hand controls to interact with a “patient” in a simulated hospital room where they can review charts, monitor vital signs, administer medication, and even talk with their charges. Hancock nursing instructors watch the student progress through the scenario and provide feedback upon completion. 

“You put on the headset, and you are basically in a fully functional clinical setting,” said Hancock LVN student Jeffrey Rehkopf. “It’s very realistic and a great way to learn and prepare to work with patients in real life.”

Hancock’s nursing program provides an opportunity of upward mobility for students seeking to work in fulfilling careers. The Licensed Vocational Nursing (LVN)-to-Registered Nursing (RN) program is specifically designed to provide the LVN with an opportunity for career advancement and prepares the LVN for the additional responsibilities required of the registered nurse. The college’s programs are fully accredited by the California Board of Registered Nursing.

To learn more about Hancock’s nursing program, visit https://www.hancockcollege.edu/nursing