Lessons From Implementing Virtual Simulations: A Multi-Program Evaluation

Published:September 27, 2022DOI:


      • The Healthcare Standards of Best PracticesTM were initially developed when there was limited literature in the area of virtual simulations. The global pandemic required most simulation experiences to be conducted virtually.
      • This study is a multi-site, multi-program, and multi-lingual study that looks at common elements in virtual simulation implementation that promote simulation effectiveness.
      • The role of the facilitator in all areas that are external to the active play aspect of virtual simulation such as orientation, prebriefing, and debriefing are key to simulation effectiveness.
      • “Out of the box” virtual simulation solutions require the same level of engagement by the facilitator in virtual simulation as in-person simulation.



      The use of virtual simulation increased significantly during the recent pandemic. This required a rapid shift for many nursing programs, and also provided the opportunity to evaluate a common virtual simulation experience.


      This mixed methods study included three different nursing programs from a Western Canadian province. Each program was delivered in either French or English, and did not have a shared curriculum. The Simulation Effectivenes Tool-Modified (SET-M) was used, with n = 88 students responding. Open-ended qualitative responses, and qualitative responses from a faculty debriefing session were analyzed and included in the results.


      Prebriefing and debriefing were ranked as being most important in conducting virtual simulation. Sequencing of simulation activities needs to be considered, as does the need for synchronous debriefing.


      This study highlights the importance of the facilitators’ role in virtual simulation, specifically prebriefing, preparation, and debriefing, and that simulation effectiveness is not based on specific virtual simulation products.


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