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Using Virtual Simulations to Enhance Healthcare Education

Work-integrated learning opportunities in the health care sector, typically known as clinical placements, have been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic which made in-person placements much harder to organize. The Virtu-WIL​ initiative helps address these challenges by creating new and innovative virtual ways for healthcare students in nursing, medical laboratory sciences, and paramedicine to acquire competencies and make valuable connections with employers.

As part of this project, CICan is collaborating with Simulation Canada, and with colleges, institutes and universities from across the country, to offer students innovative work-integrated learning opportunities using virtual simulation.

This initiative creates sustainable, collaborative partnerships between post-secondary institutions, employers, students and suppliers to develop, implement and distribute virtual WIL simulation opportunities.

The Virtu-WIL program also recognizes students for participating in a combination of virtual simulations and structured interactions with employers and helps them develop practical, job-ready competencies.

What is a virtual simulation:

Virtual simulations are simulated clinical experiences run on a computer and accessed via a two dimensional screen and/or a virtual reality headset. Students, alone or in groups, are presented with a clinical situation to investigate, make decisions, then receive feedback on their decisions. Virtual simulations are designed by educators based on well-defined pedagogical objectives and clinical competencies. Educators use authoring platforms designed by suppliers who provide support and professional services during the development process and make the simulations available to students.

Project Main Partner

Simulation Canada

Fast Facts

  • Colleges, institutes and universities across Canada currently offer 308 nursing programs, 93 medical laboratory sciences programs, and 55 paramedicine programs.
  • The project will make approximately 120 virtual simulations in both official languages freely available at eligible post-secondary institutions.
  • Virtual simulations are developed on multiple platforms selected through an open procurement process.
  • 4000 students will receive a stipend to successfully complete the Virtu-WIL Program between September 2021 and March 31, 2022.

Funded By

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) via The Innovative Work-Integrated Learning Initiative –