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Bevan Exemplar Cohort 4 Projects

The Virtual Reality Classroom: Increasing Compliance in Nurse Education

Hannah Russon and Angela Voyle-Smith (Velindre)

Velindre University NHS Trust and industry partner, Atticus Digital

This Bevan Exemplar project introduced virtual reality technology to deliver mandatory training for the nursing workforce at Velindre Cancer Centre.


The training and education requirements for the nursing workforce are increasing significantly, but the ability to release nurses to undertake this training has decreased within Velindre Cancer Centre. This has significantly impacted attendance and compliance on mandatory and statutory training. In order to provide safe, effective care to patients within the cancer centre, the project team were tasked with exploring solutions to the problem, using ‘Clinical Fire Safety Level 2’ as the pilot course.

The concept of ‘just for me, just in time’ in education allows the nursing workforce to access the training at a time which suits them. This immediately called in to question the effectiveness of the traditional classroom taught sessions on set days of the month.

Following a search of the literature and scoping exercises, it was decided that the team would use immersive virtual reality technology via mobile virtual headsets to deliver ‘Clinical Fire Safety Level 2’ to determine if this concept would increase training compliance.


  • Provide wider opportunities for staff to complete the mandatory ‘Clinical Fire Safety Level 2’.
  • Comply with the NHS Wales Core Skills Training Framework, the recognised minimum standard for statutory and mandatory training and maintain competence of the clinical staff involved in the event of a fire.
  • Improve retention and quality of knowledge so that in the event of a fire and subsequent evacuation the correct procedure is followed correctly maintaining the safety of patients.
  • Allow the fire safety manager to focus resource on providing more bespoke training when required.
  • To deliver cost savings for the trust.


Owing to the nature and infancy of the use of virtual reality in education and training of staff within NHS Wales, the main challenge has been navigating the complicated procurement and processing system. This has proven costly in terms of time and being able to work with the industry partner of our choice despite months of research and meetings with various tech companies to choose the ‘best fit’.

The time take to overcome this has led to a delay in the project from August 2019 to January 2020. The team have persevered and, working alongside procurement, have been able to justify working with the industry partner of choice and the content is now in production.


Despite the delay to the pilot, the team have been able to predict outcomes based on research, industry case studies and pre-collection data at the cancer centre. These have been identified as:

  • Compliance rates to increase.
  • Retention of knowledge predicted to increase significantly based on a case study by the industry partner and current evidence available.
  • Overall cost savings.
  • Generation of income by the adoption and spread of the content to other health boards and trusts in Wales.

Next steps

  • Pilot fire safety level 2 amongst a cohort of 62 nurses over a 4 week period.
  • If successful begin scaling out to other areas.
  • Begin process of adopt and spread.
  • The possibilities are endless!

“I am a Bevan Exemplar and the opportunities this has given myself professionally and the growth, confidence and personal ability has been incredible. I suspect we would not be where we are now on the VR project without this programme.”

Hannah Russon