Nursing students learn using 360-degree simulation

Interactive scenario offers 3D perspective

HP - Nursing student Immersion Studio

Mount Royal Nursing students were placed in the middle of a scenario based on a true story and highlighting a mother's perspective on her daughter's recovery from a motor vehicle collision.

Mount Royal University's Bachelor of Nursing students graduate into a professional world where anything can happen at any time. Being able to access and implement the training they have received while involved in high-stress situations is part of the job.

To help prepare them for real-life scenarios where they will have to be the calm in a storm, nursing students have the advantage of learning to navigate critical care settings in a state-of-the art, 360-degree simulation room located in the Riddell Library and Learning Centre. Appropriately named the Immersion Studio, the room is a little like the holodeck from Star Trek. The space allows for the projection of images and information on all four walls at the same time, creating a totally immersive space experience for teaching and learning.

Each semester, students have the opportunity to engage in emergency room (ER) or intensive care unit (ICU) scenarios within the safe space of the Immersion Studio. Stephanie Zettel, an associate professor in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, describes the experience as one that truly gets into the patient's and the family's shoes.

On Feb. 5, students were placed in the middle of the aftermath of a motor vehicle collision, a situation based on a true story and highlighting a mother's perspective on her daughter's recovery, Zettel says.

"The mother's story is juxtaposed with the nurse's narrative in real time as students are immersed in the ICU - complete with all sights and sounds ― with a mannequin that is made up like an actual trauma patient."

Faculty in the School of Nursing and Midwifery appreciate that new graduates are often overwhelmed in the ICU, noting that training scenarios are key to properly preparing students to make a difference in the health and well-being of Canadians directly after graduation.

"Students often focus too much on tasks and lose sight of the person and the family for whom they are providing care," Zettel says. The innovative teaching approaches used at Mount Royal set students up to deliver a consistent and systematic level of care.

Third-year nursing student Dayna Dakin said that the experience offered perspective on what the patient's family is feeling and the trauma experienced.

"We were provided with a realistic perspective on the environment and thought processes of an ICU nurse," said Dakin.

Students are encouraged to ask questions during the training and unreservedly take in the experience.

"Many of our students go into critical care settings such as the ER and ICU for their final practicum and even though each setting may be different, and the experience may be more complex, MRU nurses are trained to approach the care of their patients in a similar and systematic way using the nursing process," says Zettel.

Mount Royal's nursing program has existed for more than a half-century and is recognized as one of Alberta's most distinguished health care education programs. The program will continue to evolve as the role of nurses continues to grow.

Mount Royal University celebrated 50 years of nursing education in 2017. Read about the program's history in Summit.


Feb. 6, 2019 ― Rob Petrollini

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