Virtual Patients and Nontechnical Skills in Undergraduate Health Professional Education: An Integrative Review

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Background: Technology enhanced simulation such as virtual patients offer flexible, reproducible, and accessible learning experiences for student to develop nontechnical skills. Method: Integrative review methods were used to synthesize empirical and theoretical literature to provide a comprehensive understanding of virtual patients in curricula relative to nontechnical skills. Results: Twenty-eight articles were included in the review. Results suggest interactions with virtual patients develop communication, teamwork, and decision-making. Additional themes related to transfer of learning to practice, socialization into roles, and authenticity emerged. Conclusions: The educational design of the simulation experience, sequencing learning activities surrounding the virtual patient, and authenticity of the virtual patient interaction are identified as important factors for consideration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)400-410
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Simulation in Nursing
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016


  • Communication
  • Decision-making
  • Integrative review
  • Nontechnical skills
  • Teamwork
  • Undergraduate health professionals
  • Virtual patient
  • Virtual simulation

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