Promotion of Nursing Excellence in Clinical Practice through On-Line Interactive Education Programs

Wednesday, 9 July 2008: 8:30 AM
Karla Zengerle-Levy, PhD, RN , Education Resource Center, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX

Learning Objective 1: articulate technologically driven education strategies to enhance evidence-based nursing practice.

Learning Objective 2: articulate the need to assess nurses' technical competences related to on-line interactive education.

Background: Grounded in the conceptual notions of Drs. Patricia Benner and Dorothy Del Bueno, evidence of excellence in nursing is revealed in actual or simulated context-rich patient scenarios. Inherent to both is the notion that nurses' contextually and experientially based critical thinking improves their metacognitive skills, which are evident in the provision of safe, effective, and efficient patient/family care.

Objectives: Produce online interactive programs designed to develop clinical judgment skills required for successful clinical advancement as evidence by:

(1) The learner will be able to articulate an advanced understanding and application of evidence based practice to improve efficacy of patient care and reduce “failure to rescue”; and,

(2) The learner will be able to articulate critical thinking inherent in the nursing process.

Method: A convenience sample of 183 nurses preparing to validate their competency at a Nurse Clinician Level III (Specialty Competent) constituted the participants for this pilot on-line education program. Based on education theory that adults have altering learning styles, three education strategies were offered: on-line interactive simulated patient scenarios, private tutoring, and pre-performance assessment in-services.

Findings: Of the 183 nurses, 78 participated in the on-line scenarios, 62 participated in private education sessions, and all engaged in pre- assessment exercises. Given there was no control group, it cannot be empirically stated that any one of these educational programs improved the nurses' performance. However, qualitative data revealed nurses' reluctance to participate in on-line education was related to technology knowledge deficits. The aforementioned objectives were met by 176 nurses, which exceeded the previous “pass” rates by 20%.

Conclusion: This pilot study suggests that technology advancing nurses acquisition and application of evidenced-based patient care needs to be further assessed insofar as nurses' competence in, and comfort with technology as an educational tool.