Building an Evidence-Based Graduate Nursing Program: A Feasibility Study in Tennessee, USA

Tuesday, July 12, 2011: 4:05 PM

Shu-Li Chen, PhD, RN, NEA-BC
Mary Anne Modrcin, PhD, RN
Sandra McGuire, EdD, RN, GNP
Caylor School of Nursing, Lincoln Memorial University, Harrogate, TN

Learning Objective 1: The learners will be able to identify the circumstances related to design, develop, implement, and evaluate a graduate nursing program in rural areas.

Learning Objective 2: The learners will be able to recognize the use of feasibility study method to enhance the building an evidence-based nursing education.

Purpose: The purpose of this survey study is to examine the feasibility of starting a graduate nursing program at a new location in a rural area of U.S.A. This is the third survey completed by the School of Nursing to examine feasibility of graduate nursing programs in rural areas.

Methods: The study included a convenience sample of approximately 100 nurses and 30 employers of nurses. This study required a one-time completion of the survey questionnaire, either by nurses or employers of nurses. It took approximately 5 minutes to complete each questionnaire. Participation was strictly voluntary. Completion of the questionnaire was used to verify participants’ consent to participate in the study. 

Results: Data collection and data analysis are ongoing. Descriptive statistics will be used to better understand the needs and wants of local nurses and potential employers of nurses with graduate degrees. The findings will be available by June 2011. This research study will also provide information about the most effective and efficient ways to design, development, implement, and evaluate a graduate nursing program for nurses serving rural communities. 

Conclusion: Understanding gained from this survey study will aid nurse educators and clinicians in identifying ways to support nursing education through graduate studies. Conducting such feasibility studies also assists the educational institution in establishing if a need for educational programs exists in an area before proceeding with instituting a program. The knowledge gained may also allow nurse researchers to utilize this knowledge to plan, implement, and support culturally sensitive educational initiatives for graduate nursing programs. Lastly, this data is important for approval and accreditation processes and should be incorporated in the systematic plan for evaluation of graduate nursing programs.