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Viewpoints: Circle Back on Student and Faculty Needs with Effective Learning Tools

As we approach the end of the year, we know that nurse educators are still overcoming many challenges. Your program likely has had to make changes for finding clinical sites due to the pandemic. In addition, NGN is approaching even quicker, with next year being the last full year to start preparing both RN and PN programs before the changes are in place.

Through all of this, the primary goal remains the same: making sure students are prepared to pass the NCLEX and enter the workforce as safe practicing nurses. Although reinforcing clinical judgment is an integral part of this—and making sure students have the right critical thinking to think in action like a nurse—there’s more to it than that.

In my whitepaper, “Bringing the Bucket Strategy Full Circle,” I talk about these changes and the need to effectively use digital tools to build a program that meets the needs of today’s nursing standards. With the enhanced focus on clinical judgment, this can be expanded to include additional teaching methodologies that can be used to develop the essential nursing skills to provide safe patient care.

Consider these three essential questions for your program:

  • How will students build their knowledge?
  • How will students apply and build their clinical judgment skills?
  • How are you assessing students’ knowledge and clinical judgment skills?

Is your program prepared in each of these areas? Teaching students how to apply clinical judgment is a primary focus in nursing education, but it’s only one part of the bigger picture. Clinical judgment is important for each step of a nursing student’s journey. Having the right tools to reinforce this can make all the difference. Whether that’s using case studies in Sherpath tied to textbooks and key nursing concepts, utilizing screen-based simulations like Shadow Health for a safe practice space, or testing their knowledge through adaptive quizzing and HESI assessments with NGN-like questions. Digital tools like these will help ensure students are one step ahead and ready for these changes.

These changes are not just vital to faculty to keep their students ahead of the curve and streamline their work, but a consideration that leadership in nursing programs should keep in mind. In a webinar I co-hosted this fall, “Facing Challenges in Digital Implementation”, we featured two program leaders from different nursing programs—Dr. Kathleen Kelley from Caldwell University and Dr. Julie Kelly from The Christ College of Nursing & Health Sciences. As they shared their perspective on what successful digital implementation looks like, several things were clear:

  • Faculty are often nervous or not prepared for change, especially when it comes to digital tools. Faculty fatigue is a real thing and learning new tools may feel like one more thing to learn.
  • Getting all faculty on the same page makes a huge difference—whether that’s consistent meetings or streamlining processes with organized resources.
  • Students and faculty can benefit from digital tools—students get to engage in new digital tools that help their learning process and connect to the textbook. Faculty can easily track their progress or make assignments easier.
  • Taking your time and acknowledging that change is a challenge can help faculty be reassured that it’s a team effort to get on track and toward a shared goal.

If you’re a faculty member feeling this way, you’re not alone! Being able to utilize digital learning tools not only provides students with the foundation to provide patient care after they graduate, but it can help faculty get ready for the changes ahead.