Chamberlain College of Nursing offers post-licensure educational opportunities through use of a virtual learning environment, used in tandem with traditional clinical placements. The current environment, called Second Life, is a virtual, three-dimensional application that is fully interactive and mimics the real world through the use of avatars.
These types of learning environments in the field of nursing are growing in popularity since they have become an opportune adjunct to practicum sites. One major benefit of a virtual learning environment, like Second Life, is that it can provide some of the necessary experiences for students, without relying solely on external sites. Additionally, faculty have enhanced control over the student experience in Second Life and the option to tailor scenarios to curriculum and student need.
Second Life allows students to navigate real-world scenarios in realistic environments that may not have been possible on-site. These experiences include but are not necessarily limited to patient interactions. For example, Second Life provides students the opportunity to explore and renovate an abandoned wing of a hospital to accommodate a new a cardiac wellness center that has a working budget. In traditional practicums, budget details are not shared with students; in the virtual learning environment, though, faculty can create such scenarios to help students develop the skills they need to assume their future roles.
These developments have reshaped the learning landscape by creating new opportunities in the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program’s indirect care tracks at the graduate level, while supporting learning in the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program, Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program, and Registered Nurse (RN) to BSN online degree completion option.