Educating Bedside Nurses: The Foundation for Staff Nurse-Driven Geriatric EBP Projects

Tuesday, July 12, 2011: 1:45 PM

Claudia DiSabatino Smith, PhD, RN, NE-BC
Nursing Research, St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, Houston, TX

Introduction: With the exponential increase in the number of aging Americans1 comes the concern that healthcare professionals are not equipped to provide the care that will be required over the next decade. Literature has long suggested that nursing professionals are poorly prepared to provide age-specific care to geriatric patients2. Nursing school curriculum has evolved to include geriatric education for prospective nurses, but little has been done to improve the geriatric knowledge of practicing nurses who are in direct care roles.

 Methods: Geriatric education was provided to a select group of staff nurses using a 2-day workshop format in combination with a series of six monthly project development day-long sessions. In concurrence with adult learning principles, multiple teaching methodologies were utilized in delivering content within the didactic workshop sessions. Other learning modalities included project development team meetings as well as collaboration with content experts related to the focus of individual projects. Topics covered in didactic sessions included: evidence-based geriatric best practices related to geriatric syndromes; age-related physiologic changes; literature searching; reading and synthesizing research articles; project development; practice change implementation; and presentation tips and templates.

 Results:  Effectiveness of the educational perspective of the intervention was evaluated by: participant satisfaction with workshop sessions; participants’ demonstration of research skills to include article acquisition, selection of current literature, synthesis of literature; actual project development and implementation; dissemination of project findings to professional colleagues.

 Conclusion: Three important components of a successful program to teach best nursing practices and the use of evidence-based practice should include: a workshop format for didactic instruction, team meetings for project development and managing group dynamics, and an ample opportunity for coaching and mentoring.