Students in the pre-licensure Bachelor of Nursing program on Georgia Southern University’s Statesboro Campus had the opportunity to gain real-world experience to care for dementia patients by participating in an experiential simulation called the Virtual Dementia Tour (VDT).
The VDT uses patented sensory tools and instruction based on research conducted by program creator P.K. Beville, M.S., for healthcare professionals and families to build a greater understanding of dementia. The simulation has been facilitated every semester for the past five years by Georgia Southern Assistant Professor and Director of Simulation and Experiential Learning Christy Dubert, Ph.D., RN; Associate Professor Rose Mary Gee, Ph.D., RN; and Instructor DaNell Moore, MSN, M.Ed.
“The simulation prepares them on how to better care for patients with dementia, cognitive problems and sensory impairments,” said Dubert. “While participating in VDT, students are taken from the beginning to late stages of dementia and experience the realities of living with dementia while being faced with the effects of attempting to perform daily living activities.
Students completed a pre-test reflection and were assigned either the color blue or red, which dictated what activities they would complete upon entering the simulated home environment. Popcorn was lodged inside the students’ shoes, gloves were put on their hands and special glasses and headphones were placed on their head to simulate different forms of sensory impairments.
Before entering the simulation environment, students read a set of instructions and were given a list of activities to complete within 10 minutes while their environment had been manipulated with dimmed and flashing lights. Following the exercise, students were escorted out of the simulation environment and asked to complete individual post-test reflections.
Students then regrouped to reflect on their experiences and share what it felt like to have sensory and cognitive impairments. All agreed the VDT was a positive learning experience and they could apply the experience to their clinical practice as nurses.
To learn more about the VDT, please go to www.secondwind.org.
Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/Research institution founded in 1906, offers 141 degree programs serving more than 27,000 students through nine colleges on three campuses in Statesboro, Savannah, Hinesville and online instruction. A leader in higher education in southeast Georgia, the University provides a diverse student population with expert faculty, world-class scholarship and hands-on learning opportunities. Georgia Southern creates lifelong learners who serve as responsible scholars, leaders and stewards in their communities. VisitGeorgiaSouthern.edu.