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New funding supports virtual simulations for nursing students.

Queen’s nursing professors Marian Luctkar-Flude and Deborah Tregunno are part of a research team that has earned a $100,000 grant from eCampus Ontario to investigate the cost effectiveness of using computer simulation in nursing education.

The funding is going to create online virtual simulations which will better prepare students for hands-on work once they enter the simulation laboratory at Queen’s. A number of scenarios will be developed to teach students the best way to approach a variety of nursing situations.

“Virtual reality is really an emerging field and this funding is enabling our students to be leaders in that area,” says Dr. Luctkar-Flude. ““The project is also a real highlight in the collaborative process between institutions.”

Dr. Luctkar-Flude is a Canadian leader in nursing education using simulation, and was one of the first in Canada to bring simulation training and interprofessional education together. She recently became the first Canadian to earn the Excellence in Research Award from the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning.

 “Having students training in the lab is expensive so these online learning modules will better prepare them to work efficiently while in the lab,” explains Dr. Luctkar-Flude. “The project will help drive the innovation of online learning in Ontario.”

The project is being led by Dr. Jane Tyerman (Trent University), and Dr. Luctkar-Flude and Dr.  Tregunno from Queen’s School of Nursing are the co-principal investigators. Dr. Rylan Egan, Director of the Office of Health Sciences Education at Queen’s is a co-investigator. Other institutions involved include Nipissing University, the University of Ottawa and York University.

The grant and the research collaboration between the nursing programs involved builds upon the partnerships and research opportunities that were created from a 2013-2014 Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Productivity and Innovation Fund grant, led by Dr. Tregunno. The grant saw more than $5 million awarded to 13 universities and four college partners to create simulation scenarios to support fourth-year nursing students’ transition to practice.