Document Type


Publication Date



Background: A critical component of disaster preparedness is the training of the healthcare workforce. Because live disaster exercises are expensive and labor intensive, virtual reality simulation may offer a viable solution as a disaster training method. The purpose of this integrative review was to examine the scientific evidence pertaining to the efficacy of virtual reality training in disaster training of healthcare workers. Inclusion criteria were: empiric literature focused on the use of virtual reality simulation (VRS) in disaster training, written in English, peer-reviewed literature and published during the time period of 2005-June, 2012. An exclusion criterion was the use of virtual simulation for modeling the effects of disaster because these articles were not used for immersive training purposes.

Methodology: A five-stage process was followed as the methodological strategy for the integrative review. These stages included identification of the problem and purposes, a defined search strategy (method), evaluation and analysis of data and the presentation of findings. A search of diverse databases was performed. These databases include PubMed, the Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Healthcare Literature, Education Resources Information Center, Academic Search Complete, Computer Source, and Computer/Applied Science.

Results: Principle findings identified three major themes including: descriptions of the participant’s VRS experiences,learning results after participation in VRS and an exploration of how knowledge construction occurs in the virtual environment. Eleven research articles were selected for inclusion in the review.

Conclusions: The review found there are too few studies investigating the efficacy of VRS and disaster training. Rigorous larger studies with measurement of long-term retention are needed. There is also a need to assess the self-efficacy to act indifferent types of disasters, and evaluate behavioral determinates such as performance in triage, decontamination, and transport.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.



Included in

Nursing Commons