Date of Award


Document Type

Evidence Based Nursing Education Project

Degree Name

Master Of Science In Nursing

Colleges & School

Ruth S. Coleman College Of Nursing And Health Sciences

First Advisor

Christine Miller, PhD, RN

Library of Congress Subject Heading

Virtual reality; Nurses--Education; Virtual reality in higher education; Simulation games in education


Serious games, those used for educational purposes, provide a suitable alternative to customary methods of teaching and learning (Hainey, 2010) and have been identified as appropriate for preparing healthcare professionals to successfully practice in a dynamic, rapidly changing environment. This paper addresses the following question, what is the empirical evidence that supports the use of serious games and virtual simulation in educating healthcare professionals? This review included studies from five different countries including the U.S. and from several healthcare professions such as nursing, medicine, public health, and occupational therapy. Nine quantitative and one mixed methods studies were reviewed. Garrison's Community of Inquiry Theory was used as a framework for analysis of studies using serious games. The use of these novel teaching strategies was found to increase the levels of student engagement and improve learning and understanding. These studies showed that the advantages of serious games were that they provided immediate feedback, created real-life situations, addressed faculty shortages, protected patient confidentiality, offered alternatives to clinical sites, and provided unique clinical experiences from nursing students. To capitalize on these advantages and find success with this approach, it is recommended that nursing educators need a solid understanding of game-based learning (Kanthan & Senger, 2011). Educators need to continue to design tools that evaluate the learning outcomes of serious games, specifically in the practice setting. Additionally, implementing innovative teaching methods such as serious games requires collaboration between researchers and educators to establish a foundation for evidence-based teaching.


On-Campus Access

OCLC Number