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Online & Virtual Reality Training in the Age of COVID

COVID has impacted every aspect of our society since March of 2020.  Education, healthcare delivery, work environments, obtaining basic needs like groceries, commercial real estate, restaurants—no area of our society and culture has gone untouched.  

In healthcare, particularly in emergency services, training is an ever-evolving need.  Healthcare knowledge doubles every 75 days or so.  It can be difficult for organizations to keep their providers on the leading edge of evidence-based medicine—and that was before a global pandemic rewrote the rules for classrooms, gatherings, and almost every other aspect of our society and culture.  Training can’t ever stop. Provider organizations have a responsibility to continue to teach, train, lead, and motivate our associates even with restrictions on gatherings and an ever-increasing call volume.  With the pace of change in healthcare, it’s more important now than ever before to maintain a robust, convenient, and engaging training program.

A lack of training can have devastating effects on providers and patients alike.  Healthcare professionals experience profound psychological effects such as anger, guilt, inadequacy, and depression due to real or perceived errors. The threat of impending legal action may compound these feelings. This can also lead to a loss of clinical confidence. Clinicians equate errors with failure, with a breach of public trust, and with harming patients despite their mandate to “first do no harm.”

Virtual Training

Many organizations have been developing and offering online training in both asynchronous and instructor-led offerings.  These courses allow for rapid delivery to wide audiences with current information.  These course offerings have been validated to be effective, engaging for students, and impactful on the student’s practice in the field.  Improved education reduces medical errors.


Virtual reality training, while still new to the emergency services realm, has also been demonstrated to help providers learn new skills and retain information.  A study released in August of 2020 showed that VR interprofessional round training for healthcare students improved patient-centered care and a providers’ ability to interact and collaborate with other healthcare providers.  Another study released in February of 2020 shows that virtual reality simulation training was beneficial in training urology surgeons for a specific and common surgery.  Yet another study also released in August 2020 showed that VR training was beneficial for training pediatric emergency residents and was well-received by students.


In the age of COVID, the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians waived the distributive education limits in the NCCP model for the 2021 recertification season.  These requirements are restored for the 2022 season.  VILT training and other methods designated by CAPCE as F5 instructor-led training are not distributive education according to the NREMT and are counted as regular instruction. As of this writing, a specific mention of instructor-led virtual reality training has not been identified.

What does all this mean for providers and organizations?  It is easier now than in the past for organizations to provide high-quality training—asynchronous, instructor-led, and virtual reality—for their providers on a convenient schedule.  These offerings encourage providers to attend training when it works for them. It also helps organizations remain compliant and keeps their providers engaged.  These digitally delivered training options also permit reductions in high-risk gatherings, such as small classrooms, and reduce cross-contamination risks.

CareerCert can help you provide asynchronous, instructor-led, and virtual reality to your providers on a schedule that works with their schedule. CareerCert can also provide support, tracking, and reports to help ensure your providers are on track.  Contact us today on how we can support your mission of caring for others!


Liaw, S. Y., Wu, L. T., Soh, S. L. H., Ringsted, C., Lau, T. C., & Lim, W. S. (2020). Virtual reality simulation in interprofessional round training for health care students: A qualitative evaluation study. Clinical Simulation in Nursing, 45, 42-46. doi:10.1016/j.ecns.2020.03.013

Rodziewicz TL, Houseman B, Hipskind JE. Medical Error Prevention. [Updated 2020 Oct 17]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499956/

Schulz, Gerald, Grimm, Tobias, Kretschmer, Alexander, Stief, Christian, MD, PhD, Jokisch, Friedrich, et al. (2020). Benefits and Limitations of Transurethral Resection of the Prostate Training With a Novel Virtual Reality Simulator. Simulation in Healthcare: The Journal of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare, 15, 14-20. https://doi.org/10.1097/SIH.0000000000000396

Scott Arthur headshotScott M. Arthur, MBA—Scott Arthur has worked in the EMS and fire industries for 20 years as a paramedic and later as a director and senior director of operations. He currently works as a CareerCert instructor and as a business consultant helping organizations improve their safety and team leadership skills. Scott has a master’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies. As an educator, Scott has presented at EMS conferences across the nation and enjoys connecting with first responders to improve department outcomes.


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