Friday, July 13, 2007
This presentation is part of : EBN Education for BSN Students
Teaching BSN Nursing Students Evidence-Based Practice by Conducting Fall-Risk Assessment among Community Dwelling Elders
Judith W. Alexander, PhD, APRN, BC, Jane Weilert, EdD, MN, RN, and M. Elizabeth Register, RN, MSN, MPH, CCM, PhD, Candidate. College of Nursing, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA
Learning Objective #1: describe a process for incorporating evidence-based practice research into an undergraduate nursing curriculum.
Learning Objective #2: discuss lessons learned to improve the implementation of evidence-based practice research into undergraduate nursing curricular.

Evidence-based practice (EBP) is the foundation of nursing and students learn about EBP throughout the curriculum. Since students learn best by doing, this project used a theory of transitions to help students understand fall-risk assessment as a nursing therapeutic to facilitate transitions among the elderly related to falls. Senior-level BSN community health students participated in a fall-risk assessment project.. Once this study is complete, future students will implement and evaluate proactive fall-risk assessments using a fall prevention program among community dwelling elders. During this study, faculty briefed the students on the theoretical background of EBP and the study, the incidence and causes of falls in the elderly, how to administer the fall-risk scales, collection of informed consent, and the IRB processes. Following this orientation, 156 students completed fall-risk assessments with their RN preceptors. The quantitative data established that 90% of the elders were at risk for falls, and only 30% had actually fallen. Qualitative data showed that the students learned the realities of conducting research. Themes revealed through content analysis of the students' reflective logs are positive feelings toward EPB; ideal situation versus reality; frustration with study participant parameters; attitudes of the elderly toward study participation; and cooperation from the RN preceptors. Faculty identified some issues as problematic for using this approach to teaching EPB. These issues are difficulty in finding community dwelling elders able to ambulate during home health visits, willingness of community agencies to extend time for client interactions for the students to conduct assessments, and need to expand student experiences to settings where healthy elders reside that are physically able to participate. Findings demonstrate that faculty can integrate EPB concepts into nursing clinical experiences. Additionally, students enjoyed being involved with the process of using and developing the evidence to guide nursing practice.