Can Knowledge Transfer in Nursing Students Be Improved by Developing and Utilizing a Clinical Toolkit?

Monday, 30 October 2017

Traci C. Freeman, MSN
Department of Nursing, Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, KY, USA
Mikel W. Hand, EdD
College of Nursing and Health Professions, University of Southern Indiana, Evansville, IN, USA

Background/Significance of problem:

The theory practice gap is a significant problem in undergraduate nursing education programs. A common theme in the literature is the need for intervention to address this gap (Floor & Robinia, 2014). As a solution, adjunct clinical faculty are being recruited and hired to oversee the education of students at the bedside (Suplee, Gardner, & Jerome-D’Emilia, 2013). This solution emphasizes the gap between the theory and practice of nursing for these new learners (Flood & Robinia, 2014). Due to this gap, students are struggling with assimilating basic information when caring for acutely ill patients. The result of this phenomenon is poor student outcomes and a potential decrease in continuity and quality of patient care (Flood & Robinia, 2014; Doulatabad, et al., 2015)

Clinical question/project purpose:

In second semester undergraduate nursing students, can implementation of an adjunct clinical faculty toolkit decrease the gap in knowledge transfer from classroom to clinical area in the clinical rotation? The project’s purpose is to design, implement, and evaluate a toolkit to decrease this gap for nursing students.

Search of literature/best evidence:

A search was conducted utilizing five databases: Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), Medline, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), PubMed, and Google Scholar. Key terms included knowledge management, transfer of learning, theory practice gap, nursing, education, and knowledge acquisition. The search produced 25 peer-reviewed articles including descriptive, exploratory, meta-analyses, quasi-experimental, and qualitative studies. Randomized controlled studies were lacking.

Clinical appraisal of literature/best evidence:

Analysis of evidence suggests that a gap in knowledge transfer is present in nursing education. Due to lack of qualified full time nurse educators, adjunct faculty are frequently used to teach in the clinical environment, thus adding to the gap in knowledge transfer from classroom to bedside.

Integration into practice:

A toolkit consisting of recorded information derived from the classroom was provided to adjunct clinical faculty weekly. The clinical faculty integrated the recording’s content with patient care each week of the rotation. The students and adjunct faculty were asked to complete an instructor effectiveness survey.

Evaluation of evidenced-based practice:

The pre-post self-evaluations of adjunct clinical faculty will be appraised to determine if teaching effectiveness improved. The students will evaluate teaching effectiveness of adjunct clinical faculty in the current semester and compare to faculty from a prior rotation. The Nursing Clinical Teacher Effectiveness Inventory tool (NCTEI) will be utilized for evaluation of quantitative data (Zarinpoush, VonSychowski, & Sperling, 2007). Weekly narrative reports relating to integration of the recorded material into clinical will be evaluated for qualitative data.