Thursday, July 22, 2004
This presentation is part of : Nursing Education
Educating Nurses as Public Policy Advocates: Transformational Perspectives of RN to BSN Students
Mona P. Ternus, PhD, RN, CNS, School of Nursing, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, USA and Debbie R. Faulk, PhD, RN, School of Nursing, Auburn University Montgomery, Montgomery, AL, USA.
Learning Objective #1: Understand the most effective strategies in educating RN to BSN students to be active public policy advocates
Learning Objective #2: Relate the impact of a “Public Policy in Nursing” course on the practice of a BSN graduate

Objective: There is a need for nurses to become more active in public policy in order to shape the future of health care delivery. In the RN to BSN curriculum, a “Public Policy in Nursing” course was designed to promote this content. This study examined the effectiveness and impact of this course.

Design: Using qualitative research methodology, the researchers explored the students’ discussions (online written comments) to elicit themes/patterns; and then the researchers searched for changing values and shifts in perspectives that signaled a transformation of nursing role/identity and values related to public policy. In addition, graduates were surveyed via email as to the impact of this course.

Population, Sample, Setting, Years: Four classes of RN to BSN students from 2000-2003 who participated in the online course were included in the sample. All discussion comments and emails occurred online. Sampling of discussion comments occurred until saturation.

Concept: Discussion comments were examined for themes related to the identity and role of the RN in public policy. Individual data from each student were examined for changes in perspectives and values related to the role of the RN in public policy.

Methods: Each researcher independently saturated themselves in all course discussion comments to elicit themes, and then examined individual student’s comments over time to determine impact and progression. The researchers then compared findings. Simultaneously with this process, each student was contacted by email and asked how this course impacted their practice and political activity. Data were examined for overall patterns and themes.

Findings: Students demonstrated progressively more interest in the political role of the nurse and an increase in political activity post graduation. Specific strategies appeared more effective.

Conclusions: Recommendations were made as to the most effective strategies to promote public policy values development in nursing students.

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Sigma Theta Tau International
July 22-24, 2004