Utilization of Innovative Teaching Strategies Following a Nursing Education Certificate Program in Guyana

Sunday, 30 July 2017: 3:30 PM

Deborah Salani, DNP
University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies, Coral Gables, FL, USA
Mary E. Mckay, DNP
School of Nursing and Health Studies, University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies, Coral Gables, FL, USA


 The purpose of this presentation is to showcase the utilization of non-traditional teaching strategies by Guyanese nursing tutors after the completion of a hybrid nursing education certificate program. The country of Guyana has been struggling with a severe nursing shortage; hence, the government expanded the enrollment capacity for the Guyana Schools of Nursing. The Guyanese nursing students’ success rate in passing the national licensure exam has been less than optimal. In an effort to improve the nursing shortage and success rate on the board exam, the Guyana Ministry of Health, Pan American Health Organization, and the World Health Organization formed a collaboration with the School of Nursing and Health Studies to provide a Nursing Education Certificate Program for the nursing tutors. This dynamic program provided tutors with the skills and knowledge to facilitate lifelong learning to educate nursing students in the classroom and clinical settings. The program provided focused coursework in the areas of educational learning theory, curriculum and instructional design, teaching strategies and evaluation of student performance and instructional design. In Guyana, nursing students have been educated using traditional methods. This program emphasized the use of innovative teaching strategies such as simulation; case studies and gaming or on-line application that faculty may use to promote learning. Traditional pedagogies used in the classroom often creates passive learning (Tedesco-Schneck, 2013), however, usage of innovative strategies support critical thinking and encourages students to become more involved in the learning process (Gipson, 2013). Simulation is an educational strategy used by many nursing programs. According to Aebersold & Tschannen (2013), simulation is an effective method for improving competency in an area. Simulation may be utilized to educate nurses for new procedures, communication processes, and skills. Simulation may include a life size doll, role playing or usage of high-fidelity and virtual simulator. Case study teaching methods have been extolled for promoting student engagement and critical thinking skills (Freeman Herreid & Schiller, 2013). Another effective teaching strategy is the use of games. Gaming encourages student involvement, active learning, and critical thinking. Games are often used in combination with lecture to highlight important information (Xu, 2016).

The evaluation of student knowledge and skill acquistion is a critical aspect of the nurse educator role. Tutors were taught how to develop and utilize grading rubrics and to communicate with the students about grading expectations. Rubrics are an objective measure to provide clarity regarding expectations so students may complete the assignment successfully (Kirkpatrick & DeWitt, 2012). Another strategy to assess outcomes of learning is teacher-developed tests. According to Tarrant & Ware (2012), many nurse educators do not have the knowledge base or education to develop exam questions. Therefore, tutors were provided theory on test construction and item analysis.


The Certificate in Nursing Education Program was composed of four graduate level courses which were offered as a hybrid program. Weekly online classes were held along with virtual office hours. In order to provide support, consultation and mentorship, faculty visited Guyana on 4 different occasions. These courses were designed to meet the needs of the tutors and the various schools of nursing. All assignments were tailored to address their needs and to assist them in improving their curricula. Courses covered included teaching and learning theory in nursing education, methods of nursing education, practicum in nursing education and evaluation. All assignments were customized to address the tutors’ needs and to assist them in making improvements to the curricula. Topics covered included teaching and learning theory in nursing education, methods of nursing education, and evaluation. Assignments included simulation scenario development, creation of an innovative learning strategy such as a game, table-top exercise or application, and case studies. Assessment and evaluation assignments included the development power point presentation, grading rubric, and skill or simulation evaluation tool. Tutors were also required to write 10 test questions from more than one level of Bloom’s taxonomy and provide a peer review.

The design utilized was a pre/post mixed method. Upon receiving approval from the university institutional review board 26 participants were requested to complete the survey before the start of the program and following the completion. All of the participants were tutors from the various schools of nursing in Guyana both public and private. Data collected included demographics, tutor teaching responsibilities, teaching and evaluation methods utilized in the clinical setting, expectations of the program, self-reported confidence and competence regarding teaching in the classroom, clinical and simulation setting, curriculum development, and qualitative open-ended questions.


Pre-post scores found an increase in tutor use of simulation as a teaching modality (25% and 66 % respectively). Pre-post scores found an increase in tutor use of case presentations (59% and 83% respectively) and technology in the classroom (66% and 78% respectively) with a subsequent decrease in the use of traditional lectures (89% and 77% respectively). Pre-post scores found an increase in the usage of clinical competency skills checklist by tutors (46% and 65% respectively). Pre-post scores found an increase in tutors development of exam questions ( 88% and 94% respectively) with a subsequent decrease in the use of commercial test question banks( 69% and 61%).


Upon completion of the Nursing Education Certificate program the Guyanese tutors demonstrated an increase in the utilization of innovative teaching strategies and evaluation measures. The participants reported an increase in the use of non-traditional teaching methods including simulation, case presentations and technology - based activities. Participants utilized clinical skills checklist as a formal evaluation measure at a greater rate following the program. Study limitations include a small sample size and self reported data. However, these results offer promise for future offering of the program. Innovative teaching strategies may promote an increase in student engagement and learning.