DeWitty, Huerta, and Downing (2016) claim Academic Nurse Educator’s role includes the cultivation of a safe and structured learning environment that is intellectually stimulating and challenging. This environment should allow learners to develop their knowledge, skills, attitudes, and competencies required for a successful transition from the student nurse to a competent, autonomous practicing nurse. This course is designed to meet the academic challenges associated with creating a stimulating learning environment that provides learners with an environment enhancing learning through intellectually stimulating, challenging, and thought-provoking learning activities. These activities promote the development of knowledge, skills, attitudes, and competencies essential to the community health nurse.
Module 1. Introduction to community & public health nursing.
Throughout this module, the course elements create an intellectually stimulating and challenging environment that requires the learner to examine the ever-evolving roles and responsibilities of the community and public health nurse, begin to analyze the differences between the two, and understand their respective roles within a complex health care system. This activity allows the learner to obtain a working definition of a community and the health systems available within this system. They will also define a public health nurse and how public health policy influences the system’s scope of practice.
The scenario-based learning activity will be an unfolding case study. Participants will individually complete a random case study and then divide them into groups with other learners with the same case study. The exercise of grouping learners together fosters an environment where they can begin to stimulate each other intellectually. Peer to peer teaching and reciprocal learning are effective team-based learning strategies. Individual learners often bring a different perspective to the case study from which everyone can learn something new or gain a deeper understanding of the task. The case study assigned in this module provides the learners with an interactive approach to a patient situation in a controlled and safe environment. This activity is designed to promote nursing knowledge, fundamental skills, and entry-level competencies. The goal is to increase critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills. Learners will respond to situations in the case study. Through a progressive case study, the goal is for learners to gain vital information, review their prior decisions, and identify pertinent information in the case study. This activity presents opportunities to intervene and promote positive patient outcomes. Utilizing case studies will assist learners in developing their clinical forethought and assist them in predicting potential complications.
The learning activity aligns with the Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN, n.d.) key competencies of patient-centered care, safety, and teamwork and collaboration. Activities such as this encourage learners to understand that plans of care are patient-centered in focus, emphasize safety for the patient, and require teamwork and collaboration to produce a positive outcome.
Module 2. Health promotion, maintenance & prevention.
Throughout this module, the course elements create an intellectually stimulating and challenging environment. They encourage and challenge the learner to appraise research data, determine a current community opportunity by utilizing a needs assessment. This information is the basis for designing an evidence-based project to improve the community’s gap or need. This activity allows learners to identify barriers to healthcare and salient issues and begin to challenge themselves to work collaboratively to develop community-focused patient-centered plans of care.
A community education project will be a scenario-based learning activity. Learners will divide into groups. The group will develop an educational program based on the community needs assessment. This activity fosters an environment that intellectually stimulates others through peer teaching and reciprocal learning, which is team-based. Each learner brings a different perspective, which exposes the team to something new or fosters the ability to gain a deeper understanding of the task and role of the community health nurse. The community education project provides an interactive, team-based approach engaging the learner to assume responsibility for teaching others, promoting the development of nursing knowledge, skills, and competencies through critical thinking and clinical reasoning. Requiring learners to produce a community education project enables a demonstration of learning and challenges the development of nursing knowledge, skills, and competencies as a community health nurse.
The learning activity aligns with the Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN, n.d.) key competencies of patient-centered care, safety, and teamwork and collaboration. Activities such as this encourage learners to understand plans of care are patient-centered in focus, emphasize safety for the patient, and require teamwork and collaboration to produce a positive outcome. Through this learning activity, the learners will be exposed to the process of utilizing evidence-based approaches to understand plans of care are patient-centered in focus, emphasize safety for the patient, and require teamwork and collaboration to produce a positive outcome.
Module 3. Emergency preparedness, disaster management & violence in the community.
Throughout this module, the course elements create an intellectually stimulating and challenging environment and require the learner to analyze aspects of the emergency preparedness and disaster management model and the factors in a community that influence disasters and violence, and the community health nurse’s role on the multidisciplinary team.
The use of virtual reality will enhance scenario-based learning activity. First, the learners will review all learning resources via a flipped classroom learning strategy. Through the use of multiple learning resources, the learner will be able to prepare for the virtual simulation. By way of an example, learners will need to review how to perform jumpstart triage assessments, such as assigning the appropriate emergency severity index score is required in the simulation. This interactive virtual simulation activity provides learners with an interactive approach to a mass casualty patient situation in a controlled and safe environment. The activity promotes the development of new and continued nursing knowledge, enhanced skills, and competencies by promoting critical thinking and clinical reasoning. As the simulation progresses, the learner will have to respond to situations in the simulation. Through their responses, more information will be shared. They will have opportunities to review their prior decisions and proceed to identify pertinent information in the case study. The case studies will pose opportunities to intervene and promote positive patient outcomes, just as in the unfolding case study. Utilizing virtual simulations will assist learners in developing their clinical forethought and assist them in predicting potential complications. The learner will participate in a computer-generated debriefing will completion of the virtual simulation exercise.
This learning activity aligns with the Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (n.d.) key competencies as it relates to patient-centered care, safety, and teamwork and collaboration. This learning activity encourages learners to understand plans of care are patient-centered in focus, emphasizes safety for the patient, and requires teamwork and collaboration to produce a positive outcome.
Bastable (1998) tells us that learning theories provide a fundamental framework of unified constructs that delineate how people learn. There exists a new culturally diverse student population that no longer consists of the “traditional fresh out of high school student.” This group includes single parents, middle-aged adults, and individuals who are re-specializing into nursing as a second career. The curriculum should be tailored to all learning styles and needs.
Fernando & Marikar (2017) indicate through the utilization of the constructivist learning theory, learners diligently and actively obtain a new working body of knowledge, and use ideas and concepts previously learned to build upon and construct new ideas. With the constructivist learning theory, nurse educators are challenged to assist learners in drawing critical connections between already learned theoretical frameworks and build toward a deeper understanding of all material. For example, community health nursing is typically presented to learners toward the end of their nursing school journey. Learners have to draw on all previously learned nursing theories and concepts to excel in the class.
In Module III, the student learning outcome of “distinguish nursing interventions that would promote positive health outcomes to vulnerable populations involved in emergent and disastrous situations,” reflects the constructivist learning theory. The constructivist learning theory implies that knowledge builds upon prior learned experiences and knowledge. Learners are allowed to use their previous knowledge of the last curriculum nursing to navigate through the learning activity presented proficiently. Learners should utilize critical thinking skills to successfully navigate the virtual reality simulation. They should refer back to nursing fundamentals and health assessment knowledge.
The constructivist learning theory applies to an online learning environment as it encourages the learners to think, synthesize, and use all their learned nursing knowledge gained thus far critically. According to Gold (2019), learners can actively obtain new knowledge and concepts from experiences by actively building on and from prior nursing curriculum assimilations. Academic nurse educators apply the constructivist learning theory to the class curriculum through online discussion boards, open-ended questions for learners to respond to gain a more in-depth insight into the material and develop their knowledge, skills, and attitudes related to community health nursing. Open-ended discussion boards allow learners to draw their conclusions about the content based on their previous experiences and learned concepts. It also allows learners to communicate with one another so they may see other learners’ perspectives in the class.
Although the online learning environment may be more convenient for some learners, several challenges may exist for attending a class via an online environment. This may decrease learners’ chances of achieving the student learning outcomes. Learners may be less motivated to complete assignments online due to minimal face-to-face interaction with instructors and classmates. An academic nurse educator should encourage learners to “check-in” with the instructor and one another via an online discussion board weekly to discuss learner progress and ask each other questions about the material. Discussion boards can be used to clarify any information and provide more resources for learners faster than if they had to wait for the next face-to-face meeting lecture time. Another challenge that may decease a learner’s chances of achieving student learning outcomes is the level of technical savvy the learner currently has. A diverse learning environment sees variances in age, knowledge, and experiences, and some may not be technically savvy. Nurse educators can provide “cheat sheets,” videos, or PowerPoints, providing strategies to successfully navigate all online course content to help the less technologically savvy. Universities typically have student success centers where learners can access help with technical topics via live cohorts and discussion groups. Nurse educators can also open up more office hours to meet with learners electronically or via telephone to assist them.
Learning Resource Justification
Module 1 learning resources.
The topic or course element of this module is an introduction to community and public health nursing. The learning resources for this module include three peer-reviewed journal articles, one video, and a textbook. The three articles, video, and textbook provided are resources that learners can utilize to understand better and explore the roles and responsibilities of the community and public health nurse. Providing articles, videos, and textbook is best suited for the curriculum. It can benefit all the different learning styles that may be present in the class by actively engaging learners in the course material. For example, the video provided as a resource is beneficial for the auditory and visual learners. In contrast, the articles and textbooks provided are helpful for both the visual and kinesthetic learners. Each learning resource aligns with the course objectives and learning outcomes and thoroughly prepares each learner for the scenario-based learning activity to demonstrate proficiency in the weekly topic.
Module 2 learning resources.
The topic or course element of this module is health promotion, maintenance & prevention. Learners will be tasked to work in groups to implement a community needs assessment based on the given topics described in the course overview. The learning resources provided for this module include a California Department of Public Health status profile, two online resources from reputable sources that will help guide them in developing their educational tool to present to the class, one video, and a textbook. The video and book provided are resources that learners can utilize to help them better understand the roles and responsibilities of the community and public health nurse in the promotion, maintenance, and prevention of the community. The CDC and Health People resource provides learners with a reference for developing their educational tools. The video provided is a resource regarding the community health assessment process.
Each learning resource aligns with the course objectives and learning outcomes and thoroughly prepares each learner for the scenario-based learning activity to demonstrate proficiency in the weekly topic. Providing the articles, video, and textbook is best suited for the curriculum and can benefit all the different learning styles that may be present in the class by actively engaging learners in the course material and with one another. For example, as previously discussed, the video provided as a resource is beneficial for the auditory and visual learners, while the status profile and textbook provided are beneficial for both the visual and kinesthetic learners. The use of a group task fosters interprofessional and collaboration, exposing the learner to a philosophy of teamwork as a means of working towards a common goal. This allows learners to take charge of the learning process and see it is an inter-relational system supported by thoughtful interaction and critical thinking.
Module 3 learning resources.
The topic for this module is emergency preparedness, disaster management, and violence in the community. Learners will be tasked to complete a virtual reality simulation exercise of a mass casualty incident. The learner will be a member of the multidisciplinary team providing care to patients. The learning resources provided for this module include an article and a textbook. The articles and books provided are resources that learners can utilize to help them better understand the roles and responsibilities of the community and public health nurse in emergency preparedness, disaster management, and violence in the community.
The learning resource aligns with course objectives and learning outcomes and thoroughly prepares each learner for the scenario-based learning activity to demonstrate proficiency in the weekly topic. Resource utilized benefits different learning styles, which are often diverse learning environments. By presenting an activity that prepares the learner to be actively engaged in the material and each other, the learning environment will augment the skills required for the successful completion of the course. Through simulations, the learner will be challenged to bring prior knowledge together with new concepts, which will increase skills sets of knowledge development, learning new skills or improving existing skill sets and understand the attitudes required of the practicing community or public health nurse.
Scenario-based learning activity
Academic nurse educators can utilize multiple learning strategies through scenario-based activities. This fosters the development of critical thinking and clinical judgment through a controlled storyline. Using scenario-based activities requires learners to develop and perform at the cognitive level of application. It ensures higher-order thinking and applying learned knowledge, critical thinking, analysis, synthesis, and nursing skills in a safe, controlled environment based on real-world context.
Leaman & Flanagan (2013), indicate virtual reality simulation supports skill development and encourage reflective practice through the situated learning theory. Leaman & Flanagan (2013) suggest learning occurs in the context in which it will be used. Encouraging and allowing learners to participate in a simulation that mimics a real-life scenario will foster an environment of educational and nursing growth. Utilizing a simulation will enable learners to participate in instructional situations that enforce experiential learning. In the simulation, all learners will have an opportunity to practice specific nursing skills related to disaster management and community violence. Real-life simulation exercises allow learners to develop critical thinking, foster autonomy and encourage the application of theoretical concepts and higher-order thinking. It can be extremely challenging to create a meaningful and thought-provoking opportunity for every learner to grow and develop a strong nursing prowess due to the diverse makeup of the class. The activity promotes all learning types to practice nursing skills, develop autonomy, and increase their confidence in a controlled environment, without fear of judgment, and risk of harm. The process of simulations strengthens learner’s clinical reasoning and encourages self-reflection. A real-time virtual are recorded during student participation. At the end of each simulation, learners can watch, analyze, and synthesize their clinical decision-making skills throughout the simulation. After the simulation’s initial shock and anxiety are over, learners can reflect on and discuss examples of appropriate interventions and communications as well as highlight areas in need of improvement, thereby identifying new grown opportunities. Dreifuerst (2015) implies debriefing sessions post-simulation facilitates teachable moments, strengthens learner’s clinical reasoning, and encourages reflective analysis of all parties participating. Through previous personal experience in high-fidelity simulation, being able to review the recorded simulation, provided opportunities to reflect on the simulation. Through the analysis of the recording and promoting open discussion, the opportunities for growth and development abound. Peer discussion proctored and facilitated by faculty allow opportunities to share ideas and reflect. This promotes meaningful student-centered learning and a deeper understanding and appreciation of the theoretical frameworks presented in class.
Bastable, S. (2017). Nurse as educator: Principles of teaching and learning from learning practice (5th ed.). Available from https://wgu.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781284155464/cfi/6/270!/4/2/30/4/6/6/2/2/2/2@0:42.9
DeWitty, V.P., Huerta, C.G., & Downing, C.A. (2016). New careers in nursing:Optimizing diversity and student success for the future of nursing. Journal of Professional Nursing, 32(5S), S4-S13.doi: 10.1016/j.profnurs.2016.03.011.
Dreifuerst, K. T. (2015). Getting started with debriefing for meaningful learning. Clinical Simulation in Nursing, 11(5), 268–275. doi:10.1016/j.ecns.2015.01.005
Fernando, S. Y., & Marikar, F. M. (2017). Constructivist teaching/learning theory and participatory teaching methods. Journal of Curriculum and Teaching, 6(1), 110–122. DOI: 10.5430/jct.v6n1p110. Retrieved from https://eds.a.ebscohost.com/eds/detail/detail?vid=5&sid=c413d9e2-137e-4929-8917-f698800fc828%40sessionmgr4006&bdata=JmF1dGh0eXBlPXNzbyZjdXN0aWQ9bnMwMTc1Nzgmc2l0ZT1lZHMtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#AN=EJ1157438&db=eric
Gold, S. (2019). A constructivist approach to online training for teachers. Online Learning, 5(1). http://dx.doi.org/10.24059/olj.v5i1.1886
Leaman, L.H., & Flanagan, T.M. (2013). Authentic role-playing as situated learning: Reframing teacher education methodology for higher-order thinking. Studying Teach Education, 9(1), 45-61. https://doi.org/10.1080/17425964.2013.771573
Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (n.d.). QSEN Competencies. https://qsen.org/competencies/pre-licensure-ksas/
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