Delivering Bad News: VR Embodiment of Self Evaluation in Medical Communication Training

Collingwoode-Williams, Tara; Gillies, Marco; Nambyiah, Pratheeban; Fertleman, Caroline and Pan, Xueni. 2024. 'Delivering Bad News: VR Embodiment of Self Evaluation in Medical Communication Training'. In: International Conference on Serious Games and Applications for Health. Madeira, Portugal 7-9 August 2024. [Conference or Workshop Item] (Forthcoming)

Delivering_Bad_News_VR_Embodiment_of_Self_Evaluation_in_Medical_Communication_Training.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

Medical Professionals are often put through situations where they have to communicate something undesirable to patients (or their family members). The emotional reactions from the patient, or, the parent of the patient in a children’s hospital, are not always easy to deal with. Here, using Virtual Reality (VR), we developed a new method to train medical professionals to be more prepared for these encounters, through a simulation with virtual parents, and afterwards, a reflection of their performance from the perspective of the virtual parent. This paper presents the technical setups of Embodied Perspective-Taking in a medical communication training application. Embodying a Doctor avatar, participants delivered bad news to an angry (virtual) parent that her child’s surgery had unfortunately been cancelled due to an emergency. They were then able to review their performance in VR, from either the parent’s (1st person) or a dis-embodied 3rd person’s perspective on self-efficacy. We conducted a between-group study with 16 medical professionals recruited from a paediatric hospital and found no significant impact of perspective. However, when taking into consideration the participants’ roles and experience, we found that Nurses underwent a notable change in self-evaluation compared to Doctors after experiencing their review in VR, and reported more levels of Nervousness speaking to the parent. Results suggest our approach may benefit early-stage or less confident practitioners.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Additional Information:

For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising.

This work is funded by internal grants from Goldsmiths College and the Great Ormond Street Hospital.


Human-Computer Interaction, Virtual Perspective Taking, Virtual Reality, Medical Communication Training

Related URLs:

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



19 April 2024Accepted

Event Location:

Madeira, Portugal

Date range:

7-9 August 2024

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

03 Jun 2024 09:32

Last Modified:

03 Jun 2024 22:22


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)