Utilizing Information Technology for Skills Labs in a Graduate Nursing Program

Concurrent Session 2

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Graduate nursing faculty must incorporate the use of information technology in order to match the learning styles of today's nursing students.

Extended Abstract

Healthcare today is progressing to electronic health records, and healthcare providers must learn how to document patient findings utilizing electronic records. Competency in electronic records is now required to document and access patient information. Nurse educators must incorporate information technology in the curriculum in an effort to improve students' usage in the clinical setting. Nursing schools have the responsibility of instructing students by utilizing information technology in order to guarantee that students have the ability to access appropriate patient information (Beers, & Berry, 2015).
A study performed by Nkosi, Asah, and Pillay (2011) evaluated nursing students' access to and attitudes towards the use of technology. The data concluded that students demonstrated a positive attitude towards technology being utilized in the nursing program. Another study completed by Johansson, Petersson, and Nilsson (2013) identified the need for improved computer literacy in nursing programs and also generated positive results for the use of technology in teaching and learning.
The question is how to provide a hands-on skills laboratory class such as advanced health assessment without having students come to campus. The content for the class must be varied and incorporate lectures, required readings, and interactive assignments in an effort to engage students. Instructor demonstration and hands-on learning experiences are the foundations of the campus laboratory class. The same material will have to be delivered by video presentations in the online format. The greatest concern is how to incorporate the hands-on learning with the online format (Hagman, 2013). Since students in the Family Nurse Practitioner program reside in various states, it is the student's task of finding an advanced practice registered nurse to serve as a preceptor and arranging laboratory time with the preceptor. The lab sessions must follow the course progression and utilize the check-off requirements as a guideline. The check off examination for the course is a complete history and head-to-toe physical examination on an individual chosen by the student. Students must be given a list of course objectives, course requirements, and also a list of the needed equipment for the check off examination.
A modular style, where the course material is separated into units, has been proven to be an effective format for providing online courses. For the course and the students to be successful, it is imperative that the students be actively involved in the course. In order to obtain the best outcome, online courses should incorporate a mixture of learning methods such as creating real-life situations, encouraging group work, and providing hands-on activities (Zsohar & Smith, 2008).
It has been suggested that merging simulation and technology together provided a positive learning experience for nurse practitioner students in the laboratory class setting. Linking both technologies in clinical case presentations offered a more practical learning environment. The focus should be assessing and strengthening the students' clinical skills which include both the health history interview and the physical assessment examination (Elliott, DeCristofaro, & Carpenter, 2012).

Beers, G. W., & Berry, C. G. (2015). Traditional versus electronic resources for students in clinical nursing courses: A pilot study. Online Journal of Nursing Informatics, 19(1).

Elliott, L., DeCristofaro, C., & Carpenter, A. (2012). Blending technology in teaching advanced health assessment in a family nurse practitioner program: Using personal digital assistants in a simulation laboratory. Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners 24, 536-543.

Hagman, L. (2013). Virtual health assessment: An impossible task? Nursing Education Perspectives, 34(2) 133-134.

Nkosi, Z. Z., Asah, F., & Pillay, P. (2011). Post-basic nursing students' access to and attitudes
toward the use of information technology in practice: A descriptive analysis. Journal of Nursing Management, 19, 876-882.

Johansson, P. E., Petersson, G. I., Nilsson, G. C. (2013). Nursing students' experience of using a personal digital assistant in clinical practice - An intervention study. Nurse Education Today, 33, 1246-1251.

Zsohar, H., & Smith, J. (2008). Transition from the classroom to the web: Successful strategies
for teaching online. Nursing Education Perspectives, 29 (1), 23-28.