Methods: This study, approved by the university IRB, collected information via an electronic survey, from experienced BSN and MSN nurses (93% with > 5 years experience) in a diverse selection of roles and clinical areas, faculty currently teaching in a RN-BSN program, and graduates of a RN-BSN program. Clinical roles of participants included staff, preceptors, managers, and administrators in acute care facilities, both rural and metropolitan, in teaching and community hospital settings, long term care, and outpatient settings. Participants (total respondents: n=206) were asked to identify and prioritize, from a list of topics provided, the pertinent content areas to include in a core foundational course for transition to the roles of professional nursing. Topics were selected using standards for professional practice, evidence from the literature, and texts on professional practice. Participants were invited to add their own content ideas and further suggestions for the subject areas of the course.
Results: Results were analyzed with descriptive statistics and for differences, using a series of Kruskal Wallis tests. The survey was piloted prior to distribution. Participants were asked to choose their top ten topical areas and to rank them in order of priority. The top content areas were: accountability and autonomy; collaboration and coordination in caring; critical thinking, clinical reasoning; ethical principles and standards; evidence based practice; informatics and technology; leadership and management; professional communication; professional nursing concepts; quality improvement. No significant differences in mean importance rankings for any of the nursing curriculum topics were found according to age. A significant result was found for history of nursing (χ²=7.846, 2 df, p=.020) where it was found to be at the bottom of the ranked list, for leadership and management principles (χ²=14.061, 5 df, p=.029), for critical thinking, clinical reasoning (χ²=8.790, 2 df, p=.012) and for professional nursing concepts: philosophy, identity, standards, roles, behaviors (χ²=6.213, 2 df, p=.045). No significant differences in mean importance rankings were found according to highest degree earned by the participant, for geographic location, between rural and metropolitan groups, according to clinical setting, or between clinicians, faculty, and recent graduates. Significance for excluding nursing history, previously in the course, was highest among less experienced nurses.
Conclusion: The results identified priority content areas, that were combined with standards for baccalaureate education, and applied directly into course development for a core transitions to professional nursing course, as well as integrated into other courses within the program. The course was developed and launched within 4 months of the results of the study, thus providing rapid utilization of the results. The study sought to help to prepare nurses with realistic content that can assist them to be effective practitioners in the present and future healthcare environment, to reduce a gap between education and practice, and to provide faculty with the pertinent content to enable this outcome. The congruence in results between clinicians and faculty was gratifying. The faculty felt that the course was the most current possible, and was supported by clinicians who would likely be working with graduates of the program at a future date. It is recommended to use this collaborative approach for development of other courses in the baccalaureate curriculum.
See more of: Research Sessions: Oral Paper & Posters