The range of uses of virtual reality for intensive care unit staff training: A narrative synthesis scoping review

Hill, James Edward orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-1430-6927, Hamer, Oliver orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-9631-0032, Breed, Hetty, Ford, Jordan, Twamley, Jacqueline, Kenyon, Roger, Twamley, Huw, Casey, Rob, Zhang, Jennifer et al (2023) The range of uses of virtual reality for intensive care unit staff training: A narrative synthesis scoping review. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 39 (3). pp. 869-882. ISSN 0266-4909

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The use of virtual reality (VR) in medical education allows learners to make mistakes safely without risk to patients and to refine a range of clinical skills by repetition. However, there is still wide variability both between, and within countries regarding the amount of training delivered using VR, particularly in relation to intensive care medicine

To identify the range of uses, phase of development and effectiveness of VR for intensive care unit (ICU) staff training.

The review followed the scoping review framework set out by Levac et al. (2010). A multi-database search was undertaken. All study types were included if they explored the use of VR for intensive care staff (ICU) staff training. Full paper screening, data extraction and assessment of bias was carried out by a single reviewer with verification by a second reviewer. A narrative synthesis was chosen to summarize the data.

The search strategy identified 647 records. Following the removal of duplicates, screening of titles, abstracts and full texts, five studies were included. VR for ICU training has primarily focused on skill acquisition for surgical procedures. The majority of studies in this area were classified to be at an early stage of assessing acceptability, tolerability and efficacy. There was very low-quality evidence that VR for ICU training is effective.

Studies have explored the use of VR for a small number of surgical procedures and emergency patient scenarios. VR for ICU training demonstrates some potential, however further development and high-quality research is required. Research relating to virtual reality for ICU staff training is currently of weak methodological quality and as such, no recommendations to clinical practise can be made. Wherever possible when using VR for ICU staff training it should be utilized as part of a high-quality study.

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