Operating Room Virtual Reality Immersion Improves Self-Efficacy Amongst Preclinical Physician Assistant Students

Erika R. Francis, Stephanie Bernard, Morgan L. Nowak, Sarah Daniel, Johnathan A. Bernard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess the impact on self-efficacy for preclinical physician assistant (PA) students through immersive virtual reality (VR) operating room simulation. Design: Randomized double-blinded controlled experiment measuring self-efficacy using Schwarzer and Jerusalem's general self-efficacy scale. An entirely novel operating room was created, casted, and filmed using VR software. Fifty-two preclinical PA students were randomly assigned to VR (n = 26) or traditional lecture (n = 26) and self-efficacy was measured in both conditions using a general self-efficacy scale given before and after the virtual experience. A mixed ANOVA, independent sample t tests, and paired samples t tests were performed. Setting: Shenandoah University Physician Assistant program, Winchester, Virginia. Results: Exposure to VR training after the traditional lecture improves self-efficacy amongst PA students (p < 0.05). Exposure to VR improved self-efficacy compared to traditional methods (p < 0.05). There was no difference in self-efficacy amongst PA students with the traditional model (p < 0.05). Conclusions: The introduction of VR simulation improved preclinical PA student self-efficacy in the operating room setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)947-952
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of surgical education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills
  • Medical Knowledge
  • Practice-Based Learning and Improvement
  • Professionalism
  • physician assistant
  • practice-based learning
  • preclinical training
  • simulation
  • surgery
  • virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education


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