Robotic Tutors for Nurse Training

Registered nurses, as the largest workforce in hospitals, are crucial to maintaining hospital stability and ensuring quality patient care. Training and assessing this vital workforce falls to nursing instructors. Currently, the U.S. faces a severe nursing shortage, leading to high turnover rates and an increasing demand for training new nurses. Consequently, the need for nursing instructors has significantly exceeded the supply. This challenge highlights the necessity for innovative approaches in nurse workforce training, integrating human-technology partnerships.

This project aims to enhance nurse instructors’ training capabilities while freeing up their time for more personalized instruction, ultimately increasing the efficiency of nursing training programs. In particular, we are designing Robotic Intelligent Teaching Assistant Systems (RITAS) for nurse workforce training. RITAS, a blend of virtual and embodied intelligence, will support nursing instructors by assessing trainees’ skills, providing assessment summaries, and delivering customized tutoring. This system is being designed with input from nursing instructors, ensuring its relevance and effectiveness in real-world healthcare settings.

This cross-disciplinary project is a collaboration with the Kavraki Lab of Rice University and the Center for Nursing Research, Education and Practice of the Houston Methodist Hospital. We acknowledge the support of the NSF Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier program which supports multi-disciplinary research to sustain economic competitiveness, promote worker well-being, lifelong and pervasive learning, and quality of life, and illuminate the emerging social and economic context and drivers of innovations that are shaping the future of jobs and work.


  1. RO-MAN
    Robotic Tutors for Nurse Training: Opportunities for HRI Researchers
    Carlos Quintero-Peña*, Peizhu Qian*, Nicole Fontenot, H Chen, Shannan Hamlin, Lydia Kavraki, Vaibhav Unhelkar
    In IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN), 2023