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Virtual patients: Development in cancer nursing education

Moule, Pam; Pollard, Katherine; Armoogum, Julie; Messer, Simon

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Pam Moule

Simon Messer
Occasional Associate Lecturer - HAS - AHP


© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Background: The number of men diagnosed with prostate cancer is increasing and internationally there are high incidence rates. It is important that nurses and healthcare professionals are enabled to provide appropriate care to those men affected by prostate cancer and their families. Despite this need, there is recognition that many professionals feel ill prepared and lack knowledge in a number of areas. This paper presents the development of a Virtual Patient (VP) online resource to support practitioner learning. Aim: To develop five online VP simulation scenarios to meet the learning needs of nurses and health-care professionals caring for men with prostate cancer. Method: Topic areas for the VPs were taken from previous work exploring the needs of health care professionals working with men with prostate cancer. An initial scoping exercise involving nursing practitioners, students and a prostate cancer charity confirmed the focus of the case study scenarios. Service users and specialist practitioners reviewed an outline of each case study to ensure fidelity of the simulations scenarios. Cases were entered into UChoose, a web based interactive VP player and authoring tool. The final case studies were reviewed by a sample of both registered and non-registered nurses and nursing students. Results: The majority of respondents reported an increase in knowledge and suggested that they would recommend the resource to others. A number of positive aspects of the resource were highlighted. Respondents also commented about areas of weakness, a number of which have been addressed subsequently. Conclusions: The VP case studies provided an opportunity to develop knowledge and confidence in caring for men with prostate cancer. The mode of delivery and the content was acceptable for less experienced and knowledgeable staff.


Moule, P., Pollard, K., Armoogum, J., & Messer, S. (2015). Virtual patients: Development in cancer nursing education. Nurse Education Today, 35(7), 875-880.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2015
Publicly Available Date Jun 6, 2019
Journal Nurse Education Today
Print ISSN 0260-6917
Electronic ISSN 1532-2793
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 35
Issue 7
Pages 875-880
Keywords virtual patient, online simulation, prostate cancer, nursing education, virtual simulation
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : Published online 21 February 2015


NET_reviewedFinal v3 highlightedtables.docx (648 Kb)

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