Thursday, December 5, 2019
Lynn Nakad

UI Grad Student Researches Virtual Reality to Help Chronic and Acute Pain

By Madison Lotenschtein | University of Iowa Graduate College | 12/3/2019

Lynn Nakad was playing a scary virtual reality (VR) game with her brother when she wondered how this technology could help the medical field. 

“It immersed me so much that I got the idea that maybe there’s more to this that could be applied to the medical fields,” says Nakad. “At the time, I was in nursing school, so I was really looking at everything with a fresh new perspective.” 

As a fourth year PhD student in nursing, Nakad’s dissertation focuses on the effects that VR has on distracting people suffering from acute or chronic pain. Nakad is currently working on a project to implement VR as an alternative route for pain management therapy at UnityPoint Health - St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids. 

“It can help distract people in pain much better than music or watching TV could because it immerses them in the virtual environment,” she says. 

While St. Luke’s Hospital has yet to offer VR treatment to actual patients, Nakad expects to begin pilot testing VR on a single inpatient unit there next spring.

“We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from nurses and administrators at the hospital,” Nakad says.

In her latest study, Nakad researched older adults who suffer from chronic musculoskeletal pain. Some study participants said that they forgot about their pain while using VR and found it to be an enjoyable distraction, Nakad says. 

Click here to read the full article by UI’s Graduate College of Nursing


# # #