vSim is a line of Nursing Simulation products that enables nursing students to learn patient scenarios through virtual modules. This innovative tool was first introduced to the Nursing Simulation market at the International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare (IMSH) conference in 2014. Since then, the next generation of vSim for Nursing has been added to help reinforce lessons learned using high-fidelity patient simulators. Healthcare professionals who focus on education and training through the use of Clinical Simulation methodologies and technologies should be aware of the vSim product line, including its history of development and various updated offerings.

Origins of the vSim Product Line

In a joint effort, vSim was co-developed by Laerdal Medical and Wolters Kluwer Health’s Lippincott Williams & Wilkins division. The nationally recognized scenarios that vSim depicts are all tied to core nursing school curricula. As such, vSim is infinitely relevant to healthcare educators who specialize in educating nursing students via simulated scenarios. Each vSim scenario was selected to help ensure that students are not only prepared for all possible real-world situations that they may encounter in practice but also confident enough in their abilities to act accordingly.

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One arm of vSim development is Wolters Kluwer Health, which is a global provider of information and point-of-care solutions for the healthcare industry. The other arm of vSim development is Laerdal Medical, which is a provider of Simulation solutions for healthcare. The vSim product line differentiates itself from other Medical Simulation products thanks to the combination of Laerdal’s virtual Simulation technology and Wolters Kluwer Health’s curriculum expertise, as the companies explain on the product site. This innovative integration of core strengths provides every nursing learner with a full Simulation experience.

Educational Uses of the vSim Product line

The vSim product line serves all nursing care providers and educators, from the lay rescuer to medical professionals who are in training programs or looking to fulfill continuing education requirements. The simulated curriculum offered by vSim is patient-centric and, as such, vSim learning experiences can translate to successful clinical patient outcomes later on for today’s nursing students. The vSim for Nursing products offer nursing students real-world practice in patient-centered care.

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Features of the vSim Product Line

In order to enhance the fidelity of virtual simulation in nursing training, and manage gaps in training due to constraints such as the COVID-19 pandemic and nursing shortage, Wolters Kluwer and Laerdal Medical announced their next generation of vSim for nursing products at the beginning of 2022. According to these companies these products “help immerse students in a safe, dynamic environment with diverse patients and an enhanced 3D design.”

Says Cansu Akarsu, Vice President of Healthcare Education at Laerdal Medical, “We collaborated closely with nurse educators throughout the design and development process to deliver the next generation vSim platform with increased educational value, user experience, and clinical realism. This allows students to feel more immersed in the experience as if they are in a real-world setting with the patient. Tablet compatibility allows students to practice clinical judgment, take assessments and hone their decision-making skills independently, anytime anywhere.”

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The vSim for Nursing product line currently features 10 virtual Simulation offerings which have been developed and endorsed by the National League for Nursing (NLN) and are deemed to be critical knowledge areas for all nursing students.

These specialty vSim for Nursing solutions include:

  • vSim for Nursing | Medical-Surgical: Based on NLN Complex Care Medical-Surgical Scenarios – Offers 10 medical-surgical simulation scenarios, such as severe asthma and hypoglycemia
  • vSim for Nursing | Fundamentals: Authored by NLN professionals – Offers real-world, evidence-based scenarios such as helping patients with oxygenation, wound care, pain management, and colostomy care
  • vSim for Nursing | Maternity and Pediatric: Based on NLN Simulation in Nursing Education – Offers 5 obstetric scenarios and 5 pediatric scenarios
  • vSim for Nursing | Mental Health: Authored by NLN professionals – Offers patient scenarios such as severe anxiety, schizophrenia and alcohol withdrawal
  • vSim for Nursing | Pharmacology: Authored by NLN professionals – Offers patient scenarios such as Managing Digoxin Toxicity in a Patient with Heart failure and Anticoagulation Bridge Therapy for Patient with a Pulmonary Embolism
  • vSim for Nursing | Health Assessment: Based on NLN Health Assessment Scenarios content– Offers 10 patient assessment types, such as the respiratory system assessment and abdominal system assessment
  • vSim for Nursing | Maternity: Based on NLN Simulation in Nursing Education – Offers 10 obstetric scenarios, such as shoulder dystocia and umbilical cord prolapse
  • vSim for Nursing | Gerontology: Authored by NLN professionals – Offers patient scenarios such as “fall risk and functional assessment” and “assessment of functional decline and family conflict”
  • vSim for Nursing | Pediatric: From the NLN Simulation in Nursing Education – Offers 10 patient scenarios, such as status epilepticus and anaphylaxis
  • vSim for Nursing | LPN/LVN: Authored by NLN professionals – Offers 10 virtual patient cases, such as COPD exacerbation and possible sepsis

In June of 2022, the newest line of vSim for Nursing was announced, known as vSim for Nursing Advanced Medical-Surgical/Critical Care. According to the Wolters Kluwer site, this line offers students needed exposure to a wide array of populations, themes, and environments, such as representation of nonbinary patients. Students experience caring for patients with comorbidities, including obesity and a secondary COVID-19 diagnosis.”

Benefits of Using the vSim Product Line

The vSim product line is exceedingly accessible, which makes it ideal for remote learners. This has been especially true during times of limited in-person classroom accessibility, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic. When utilizing a product from the vSim line, users can access a variety of online tools and training products from any location, at any time. The vSim technology simulates a patient encounter using computer-animated avatars. Healthcare concepts can be explored and then practiced in a virtual Simulation environment by introducing nursing students to realistic scenarios in which they are responsible for making a variety of clinical reasoning decisions. This exercise of decision-making in simulated scenarios is ideal for learners because it allows them time to work through clinical reasoning at their own pace and does not put their patients at risk.

Putting the vSim Product Line into Practice: A Step-By-Step Breakdown

Before each vSim nursing scenario, a nursing learner will be presented with a series of suggested readings and a pre-simulation quiz. This will create an understanding of the level of knowledge and expertise a learner has before they begin practicing on the vSim product, and it will review the foundational knowledge needed to complete each scenario.

At the beginning of each vSim nursing scenario, learners can meet their virtual patient and read an overview of the patient’s clinical circumstances, just as a nurse would during a real-life patient encounter. Students are also given the option to “go see the patient” if the clinical scenario warrants a physical exam.

Students then search within the Simulation to choose the desired patient interaction. For example, a learner can select the option to “wash hands first.” Students are asked to choose from a number of other safety measures throughout the scenario to ensure that they are able to follow health and safety protocols. Each scenario presents a variety of patient options, patient assessments, interventions, and medication management. Each scenario also allows students to select diagnostic actions and put these into practice.

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Similar to a genuine in-person clinical experience, a simulated patient’s records can be accessed by the learner throughout the scenario for reference. By accessing their patient’s records, a learner will discover if any provider orders need to be addressed. After identifying provider orders that require action (such as administration of medication), learners can continue to work with the patient within the Simulation. Students can ask their patients questions, just as they would be able to during real-life nurse-patient interactions.

Once practice on vSim has begun, the Manikin itself will react to each patient-care decision. The technology will also track any actions that are taken so that they can be reviewed and measured following the scenario for personalized feedback purposes. Recorded sessions and feedback are intended to help each student identify areas of strength and areas that need improvement. If at any time, a learner is unsure of how to proceed through a scenario, they can choose to “end the scenario.”

Following the virtual Simulation, a post-simulation quiz determines how the learner’s skill level has increased compared to the pre-simulation assessment. Documentation activities and guided reflection questions are provided to enhance the overall learning experience, and these are designed to gauge student understanding and support improved competence through remediation. The review process that occurs after a Simulation is a critical part of the learning experience because this helps participants receive constructive feedback, reflect on their results, and continue improving their skills in a safe environment.

Throughout the simulated scenarios and curriculum, students are also granted access to SmartSense, which are hyperlinks to additional evidence-based learning opportunities. These point-of-care content links may include a fully integrated e-book, as well.

The Impact of the vSim Product Line on Nursing Education

The vSim product line offers a unique blend of learning experiences that can enhance a nursing learner’s understanding of the knowledge and competencies they will need to perform at a high level in a real clinical setting. This coming together of Wolters Kluwer, Laerdal, and NLN promises to bring the latest simulation technology to nursing education, helping reinforce the lessons that nursing students glean from high-fidelity patient simulators. According to the Wolters Kluwer site, vSim for Nursing products “have been taken to the next level, providing the most realistic, true-to-life clinical experience.” The newly-introduced products make vSim the most immersive virtual Simulation for nursing education available.

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