Teachable Moments: Designing an Emerging Infections Learning Module

Saturday, 28 October 2017

C. Suzanne Gosse, PhD
RN-BS in Nursing Department, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL, USA

The purpose of this session is to describe the process of building an emerging infections online, learning module for nurses. The 21st century has had several high profile pathogens that threaten the public health. Separating fact from unreasonable fear is part of nursing practice. Anthrax, an ancient disease, had not caused one death in the United States in the 25 years before 2001 when 5 died due to exposure to a weaponized bacterial agent. Another 17 persons were sickened by the deliberate attack. An untold number were fearful, many turning to nurses and other health care professional for evidence-based answers.

The 2014 Ebola pandemic was the most deadly in hisory. The outbreak began in several West African nations where it decimated rural villages before spreading to more urban settings. Rudimentary healthcare systems were not equipped to contain or treat the high mortality virus. Once the virus arrived in the United States, it became clear that even the most advanced medical centers had problems managing the disease and the crisis. High profile failures in containment procedures led to public confusion and fear. As front line healthcare workers, nurses must have access to life-saving knowledge and skill building resources that will work in practice.

The mosquito borne Zikavirus was first identified in 1947 and named after the region of Uganda where it was found. The spread of this deceptivelly mild illness with devastating complications overshadowed the Olympics and backyard activities the past several years. Equipping nurses with the facts to help prevent maternal transmission will spare families the suffering that comes from a microcephaly, or other demonstrated birth defects.

These three diseases will serve as examples for an interactive mulimodal learning module with the goal to meet the needs of nurses who must confront emerging infections. Best practices for e-learning will be illustrated to maximize the transfer of knowledge, skill and attitude. The session will discuss the process of building the competency-based module that guides learners thru public health and acute care scenarios. Such a learning module will capitalize on a "teachable moment" when well designed online education can better prepare the nurse for the next emerging infection.