NIH Funding Awarded to Baylor Scott & White Research Institute and Baylor’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing for Study of Nurse Virtual Reality Training

October 15, 2019

An NIH grant will allow Dr. Kelly Rossler and Dr. Ganesh Sankaranarayanan to develop an immersive virtual reality simulator to examine outcomes when registered nurses use the simulator for training in safe medication administration practices.

Funding allows Baylor researchers to study how VR simulator for training nurses can address medication administration errors

Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, Baylor University Media and Public Relations, 254-710-6275
LHSON Contact: Whitney Cortner, Baylor Louise Herrington School of Nursing, Dallas, 972-576-9117
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DALLAS, Texas (Oct. 15, 2019) – Baylor University’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing (LHSON) and Baylor Scott & White Research Institute have received funding from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering of the National Institutes of Health to develop and study an immersive virtual reality simulator for nurses to train on safe medication administration practices.

Co-Leading the research study is Kelly Rossler, Ph.D., R.N., C.H.S.E., assistant professor and INACSL Research Fellow, LHSON, and Ganesh Sankaranarayanan, Ph.D., assistant director of the Center for Evidence Based Simulation, Academic Simulation Program, Baylor Scott & White Health. Their study – “Validation of an Immersive Virtual Reality Based Experiential Learning Simulator to Improve Medical Administration Safety Skills of Registered Nurses” – will address the critical nationwide problem of medication errors, which accounts for up to $46 million in daily loss to hospital operational budgets in the United States.

Rossler and Sankaranarayanan will develop an immersive virtual reality simulator and examine outcomes when registered nurses use the simulator for training on safe medication administration practices. The investigators also hope to determine if nurses trained with VR simulator demonstrate real world transfer of medication administration skills better than those who have didactic knowledge only.

This immersive VR simulation-based education offers an environment in which the learner can engage and interact within a realistic patient care setting in which medication errors can take place. The study will help determine if the simulator provides the capacity to educate health care professionals in a manner that can be reproduced consistently and done so in an experiential learning environment in which medication administration errors can be replicated without harm to actual patients.

“This project brings immersive virtual reality training directly to nurses practicing at the bedside as a strategy to promote safe medication administration behaviors,” Rossler said. “We seek to advance the science of simulation while focusing on education that can positively impact patient care.”

Sankaranarayanan noted that with recent developments in Head Mounted Display (HMD) technology and the availability of affordable consumer HMD devices, immersive VR simulators can become a reliable and cost-effective way of training in health care. This work expands upon his broader research in the use of immersive VR simulation training, which includes projects such as operating room fire safety training, virtual airway skill training and virtual electrosurgical skill training.

Rossler and Sankaranarayanan will test the effectiveness of the simulator with practicing registered nurses at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.

“This innovative and engaging approach by Baylor’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing and Baylor Scott & White Research Institute will lead the next generation of studies addressing team-based approaches to critical patient safety issues,” said Tanya Sudia, Ph.D., R.N., associate dean for research and scholarship at LHSON.

Simulation-based activities at LHSON’s Simulation Center are integrated throughout the Baylor’s transformational undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. The Sim Center includes the Health Assessment Lab, Mid-Fidelity Lab, Professional Nursing Practice Skills Lab, Don A. and Ruth Buchholz High-Fidelity Sim Lab, Obstetrics and Perioperative Simulation Suite, Community Health Simulation Suite and Hybrid Simulation classroom. Plans are underway to create an Outpatient Simulation Suite and a Pediatric Unit Simulation Suite.

In fall 2017, the LHSON Sim Team created the Two-Heads-Are-Better-Than-One (2HeadsR>1) strategy for role assignment in simulation, where two students assume the role of one nurse. This innovative approach to scenario-based simulation activities allows for the assessment of critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills, while also encouraging collaboration and shared decision-making.

The research project reported in this press release is supported by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R03EB026171. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.


The Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing (LHSON) in Dallas was established in 1909 as a diploma program within Baylor Hospital in Dallas, which is now Baylor Scott & White Health’s Baylor University Medical Center, and in 1950 became one of the six degree-granting schools of Baylor University. The first baccalaureate degrees were granted in 1952, establishing the school among the earliest baccalaureate nursing programs in Texas. In 1999, the School was renamed after Louise Herrington Ornelas, a 1992 Baylor Alumna Honoris Causa, who made an endowment gift to the School. Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, LHSON offers Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees through a traditional program and the one-year accelerated FastBacc® program. LHSON also offers an online Master of Science in Nursing Leadership and Innovation program and an online Doctor of Nursing Practice program, including tracks as a Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Midwifery and Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 Best Graduate Schools ranked LHSON’s D.N.P. program No. 41 and Nurse Midwifery No. 10 nationally in the health disciplines category, while its 2019 Best Online Graduate Programs ranked LHSON’s M.S.N. Leadership and Innovation online degree program No. 42 nationally. Visit to learn more.


The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit