A Transdisciplinary Approach to Faculty Development in Nursing Education Technology

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT The purpose of this article is to describe the creation of a transdisciplinary group, consisting of nurse educators, a medical librarian, lab technologists, and a technology expert, to lead the integration of electronic health technology, including high-fidelity simulation, handheld technology, and electronic health records, within a school of nursing. The use of innovative educational tools by nursing faculty can be daunting because of the steep learning curve. The model described here is effective in developing faculty to use simulation and other technologies as teaching-learning strategies.

Key Words Informatics--Nursing Education--Nursing Curriculum--High-Fidelity Simulation--Teaching with Technology

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REPORTS PUBLISHED WITHIN THE LAST DECADE BY THE INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE (GREINER & KNEBEL, 2003; KOHN, CORRIGAN, & DONALDSON, 2000) HIGHLIGHT THE IMPORTANCE OF HIGH LEVELS OF COOPERATION AND STANDARDIZATION TO GUARANTEE EXCELLENCE AND RELIABILITY IN HEALTH CARE. Based on these reports, it is clear that members of professional disciplines must interact during their educational years. Students in nursing programs, as in other health professions, require experience in understanding and appreciating the roles each discipline plays in patient care, and in sharing knowledge across those roles. * Health care educators are often inexperienced in working across disciplinary boundaries, impeding the integration of transdisciplinary activities into a curriculum. THEREFORE, when introducing a technologynaive urban school of nursing to simulation and other electronic health tools, a transdisciplinary interest group was formed to lead the effort. Students enjoyed the benefits of using simulation as a learning strategy through activities designed by nurse educators, a medical librarian, a nursing lab manager, and a technology expert. Nurse faculty benefited enormously from working closely with the medical librarian and technical experts.

The Call for a Team Approach Health professionals must be information literate and use technology in order to function effectively within their work environments. Evaluating and quantifying outcomes from electronic documentation, accessing evidence-based literature and drug reference materials, and communicating with others at the bedside by means of a personal digital assistant (PDA) are some of the expected competencies of a graduate nurse. Nurses must emerge from educational programs competent in the documentation of patient care using electronic health records and knowledgeable about privacy and confidentiality safeguards within information systems. Faculty and students, along with the clinical agencies partnered with the school, share responsibility for creating a climate that inspires a commitment to lifelong learning in response to the rapid changes in nursing and health care.

In today's increasingly complex health care system, one of the most significant challenges facing nurse educators is the expectation that graduate nurses have the ability to access and synthesize knowledge and use clinical information and decision support systems. Current educational programs and pedagogical approaches are not sufficient in preparing nurses for the future. With the amount of content growing exponentially, educators are struggling to determine the most essential materials to include in the nursing curricula.

Technologies such as simulation provide realistic situations for teaching problem solving and clinical reasoning skills in a controlled environment (Jeffries, 2005). Although faculty may be committed to the use of simulation, the learning curve is steep and often unrewarded. Jeffries argues that an effective strategy for the successful adoption of simulation is to groom key faculty as "champions," a process dependent on administrative support. Faculty champions must be free to attend conferences and often require release time to work on curriculum revision and develop and implement simulation scenarios (Jeffries, 2008). …