Although the literature has highlighted the use of virtual worlds in teaching-learning, little is known about the concepts associated with this technology in nursing education. Moreover, the application of virtual worlds to education has been underdeveloped theoretically, with much of the work being exploratory. Thus, the aim of this integrative review was to identify the current evidence on the use of virtual worlds in the education of nursing and other health professional students and to describe emerging themes surrounding this phenomenon. We searched seven electronic databases for relevant articles and used Whittemore's and Knaf's integrative review method to synthesize the literature. Twelve articles met the selection criteria for this review, from which three overarching themes emerged: (a) critical reasoning skills, (b) student-centered learning, and (c) instructional design considerations. This integrative review extends our understanding of virtual worlds in nursing education and the potential barriers and facilitators of their use.
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