Date of this Version


Document Type

DNP Project



Background: Virtual reality (VR) is a relatively new technology that has garnered medical researchers' attention. VR is a computer-generated depiction of an immersive environment that can be viewed through a headset.1 This multi-sensory immersion provided by VR hypothetically distracts the patient from pain and can reduce pain levels in patients experiencing pain.

Objectives: The purpose of this study is to improve anesthesia provider knowledge on the value of virtual reality and its effects as a distraction to reduce pain levels. A literature review including primary research studies addresses the PICO question: "Can immersive virtual reality be used as an adjunct to anesthesia in patients ages 10 through 70 who are experiencing acute procedural pain compared to a pharmacological approach?" The literature review is used to provide the educational framework to improve provider knowledge. The overall objective is to increase awareness to improve healthcare outcomes for patients experiencing acute pain

Methodology: The primary methodology of the proposed project is to administer an online educational intervention to providers focusing on the benefits of the use of virtual reality as a distraction to reduce pain levels in patients experiencing pain. Pre- and post-assessment surveys will be used to measure the improvement of provider knowledge before and after the intervention.

Results: 11,198 studies were identified, nine randomized control studies were included in the review. All nine studies were at high risk of bias in at least one domain. A total of 483 patients experiencing pain participated in the nine studies. Of the ten studies examined, eight of them showed a statically significant decrease in pain level reported than the standard of care. One study showed no difference. The results of the QI project showed there was a gain in knowledge between pre-and post-test assessments. In every question, participants correctly picked the correct answer post-intervention. After participating in the educational module, participants showed increased interest and knowledge in immersive virtual reality.

Conclusion: The data in this review suggests that VR may have a place in treating patients experiencing acute pain. The studies presented were heterogeneous. Further research is required to validate findings, establish optimal populations, settings, and determine the cost-efficacy of immersive virtual reality in the treatment of acute pain.