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Let Me Introduce You to Your First Virtual Patient

Published:March 17, 2014DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pedn.2014.03.021
      IN THE RECENT film Her, Joaquin Phoenix's character develops a relationship with a computer operating system named Samantha. Similarly, students now have the ability to develop a relationship with a virtual patient (VP). Gone are the days of nursing students honing their skills solely on live patients or mannequins in a simulation lab. Today, there is software available for students to interact with a VP online, in a simulated clinical environment (Figure 1). Interestingly, VPs have been around for over 35 years; however, the technology has not been widely utilized, and there is a lack of research confirming learning outcomes (
      • Cook D.
      • Triola M.
      Virtual patients: A critical literature review and proposed next steps.
      ). Nonetheless, VP technology has advanced considerably in recent years, is comparable to advanced video gaming systems, and interactivity of artificial intelligence. Today, students can interact with a VP online with text or with their voice, choose how to proceed in a virtual clinical environment, and receive immediate feedback on their performance.
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      Figure 1Tina Jones a Digital Standardized Patient™ created by software developer

      Shadow Health™ (2014). Concept labs: Immersive tutorials illustrating complex nursing subjects, Retrieved from http://shadowhealtheferences.

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