VR simulation for nurses

Patient's room in VR

Project Summary

Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are infections people get at a healthcare facility while receiving medical care for another condition. One of the key drivers of HAIs is inadequate infection prevention and control (IPC) practices. Many hospitals lack sufficient and regular IPC training and education programs for staff.

Working with Inception XR and leading healthcare partners, our team set out to design a VR experience to accelerate nurses’ knowledge acquisition of IPC protocols.

“One of the CDC’s core missions is to provide innovative and accessible IPC training for frontline healthcare workers to ensure safe healthcare.”

Using the VR simulation as an immersive learning and training tool, nurses at a top hospital in Atlanta can perform medical tasks in VR while being assessed on their ability to avoid the spread of contaminants. 

Client: Inception XR

Lead user experience designer

Scope: Discovery and concept, UX strategy and design, user journeys, storyboards, usability testing study

Figma, Adobe Creative Suite, Github, Unity, Meta Pro and Quest 2

The Experience

Screenshots from app

The first module of the simulation focuses on placing an IV catheter into a virtual patient’s arm. The simulation tracks the user’s compliance with IPC protocol while performing the task in VR, including proper hand hygiene, changing gloves, and cleaning surfaces and medical equipment – all in a simulated hospital environment. 

The design work included considerations for complex interactions, including locomotion, controller inputs, virtual object manipulation, and consistent feedback for user actions. Our team considered the many challenges of designing for users who had never used VR, providing clear instructions and visual cues to seamlessly guide the user through the simulation. 


Designing for VR is always challenging, especially when the goal is to simulate complex actions from real-world scenarios. One of my goals for the project was to help my client establish a clear visual language and foundation for documenting the user experience in their VR application. The following were some of my contributions to the project: 

  • Developed a scalable VR interaction design system that can be adopted as the project expands to include more medical scenarios 
  • Designed personas and identified usability challenges 
  • Defined virtual object interactions and key animation needs 
  • Designed application architecture and overarching experience flow
  • Created storyboards that served as an experience blueprint for the team
  • Identified placement and needs for animations, UI, SFX, VFX, and VO across the entire user journey 
  • Identified optimal placement of virtual objects and virtual layout
  • Developed content for instructions, feedback, and voice-overs 

Interactions design work included: 

  • Locomotion system (via teleportation and anchors)
  • Controller mapping (Quest 2 and Meta Pro)
  • Virtual hand poses 
  • Complex object interactions, including grabbing and manipulating virtual medical supplies (syringes, tourniquets, IV catheters, etc), virtually washing and drying hands, putting on and taking off virtual gloves, dropping and respawning objects, etc. 

Sample Documentation

Experience map

Sample storyboard

Sample storyboard

sample persona card

Sample persona