Emergency department nurses across NSW are gaining valuable real-time experience in stroke care thanks to a new virtual reality (VR) training program developed by the Centre for Advanced Training Systems at the University of Newcastle.

Responding to a need for rural, regional and remote areas to have access to regular high-quality training, the TACTICS VR program provides nurses with immersive, interactive and evidence-based training to improve outcomes for people presenting with stroke.

Program director and University of Newcastle Professor Rohan Walker said stroke was a time-critical medical emergency and ensuring fast response and treatment times was essential to saving lives and improving stroke recovery.

By simulating real-time scenarios, the training program gives emergency nurses essential practise in how to handle those first critical minutes when a patient presents with stroke.

The aim of the training is to increase awareness of nursing processes in hyper-acute management and emphasise the critical importance of effective communication and team coordination in the first 24-hours after stroke.