Graduation Year


Degree Type

Open Access Capstone

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



First Advisor

Nancy G. Owens

Department Affiliation


Second Advisor

Molly Bradshaw-O'Neal

Department Affiliation



Millions of Americans, including Veterans, are diagnosed with dementia. Healthcare staff may benefit from dementia-related training. This Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) project evaluated the effectiveness of the Virtual Dementia Tour (VDT) as a learning tool to improve staff’s knowledge of dementia, enhance their empathy and attitudes when interacting with Veterans diagnosed with the disease, and increase awareness that behaviors commonly seen with dementia may be forms of communication. Interprofessional healthcare staff (N=33) at a Veterans hospital participated in the experiential simulation. A pre-and post-test design utilized the Dementia Knowledge Assessment Scale (DKAS) and the Dementia Attitude Scale (DAS). Results: A paired-sample t-test indicated the scores were significantly higher for the post-tour DKAS (M = 27.51; SD = 7.68) than for the pre-tour DKAS (M = 35.12; SD = 7.89), t(32) = -6.045, p < .001, and d = 0.969 suggesting the VDT was an effective tool for improving staff knowledge. A Kendall’s Tau-b revealed a significant difference in the DAS (p < .03 in all but one statement; α= .754) signifying enhanced empathy, attitudes, and awareness. Conclusion: The Virtual Dementia Tour was an effective learning tool to improve the healthcare staff’s knowledge, empathy, attitudes, and awareness of behaviors when caring for Veterans with dementia.

Keywords: dementia, dementia training, dementia simulation, disruptive behaviors, empathy, simulations, Veterans with dementia, virtual dementia tour, virtual simulation

Included in

Nursing Commons