Burn patients undergo excruciating levels of pain throughout their treatment in the hospital. Pain levels increase during medical procedures, such as wound care and debridement. As a part of the treatment plan, traditional pharmacologic interventions are provided. Over time, patients become tolerant of pain medications, specifically opioids. The developed tolerance contributes to more pain felt by the patient. Medical providers limit the number of opioids prescribed to prevent addiction and other adverse effects, contributing to the challenge in treating burn pain. Virtual reality (VR) has been studied as an intervention across various settings to alleviate distressing symptoms in patients. Many studies have shown a relationship between virtual reality and a reduction in pain levels. This thesis reviewed published research when virtual reality was used as an intervention to reduce pain levels in burn patients. A total of 8 studies were analyzed to determine if there was a relationship between these variables and were included in this literature review. Multiple databases were utilized to find articles, including Applied Science and Technology, CINHAL, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Medline, Psychinfo, University of Central Florida (UCF) libraries catalog, and Health Source Nursing/Academic edition. Search terms related to virtual reality, (VR, augmented reality, AR, and virtual environment) and burns (burn, burn patients, burn units, and burn nursing) were used, in addition to the term pain. Based on the results of this literature review, those working with burn patients can use and recommend the use of VR during painful procedures with confidence.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Dever, Kimberly


Allred, Kelly


Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.)


College of Nursing





Access Status

Open Access

Release Date


Included in

Nursing Commons