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Integrating Technology: Ideas to Enhance Nursing Clinical Education

Updated: May 25, 2021

Nurse educators assume dynamic roles in preparing students to succeed. Today's educators can use multiple teaching methods when working with technology in the skills laboratory and at the clinical site. The National League for Nursing stresses the importance of the educator functioning as the facilitator for student-centered learning. Below we have shared some ideas for incorporating technology into clinical education to enhance success:

Idea 1: Nurses can work to promote safe, quality care and improve outcomes by utilizing information technology via a common nursing language. In order for quality care to be delivered safely, communication must be understood, so that practice can be informed. One teaching method supported by the Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) project is the use of Quality-Safety Project Posters. These posters can be developed by teams of pre-licensure nursing students and presented to nursing peers at semester completion. The posters can be assigned in clinical around the 4th week of the semester with direction to investigate how the use of a common nursing language informs care and impacts the safety and quality of practice. Working to promote the use of current nursing classification systems, terminologies, and taxonomies can maximize communication and lead to effective interactions. The positives of utilizing such means of communicating nursing knowledge are vast and provide a common language with less room for error, thus contributing to the overall goal of providing safe, quality patient care. Students can be given 15-20 minutes in the beginning of each clinical to work together on their project posters. Posters can be handmade or digitally created. If selecting the digital method, Glogster can be used.

Idea 2: Animoto, a technologically enhanced education tool, can be used for teaching clinical considerations at the clinical site and in the skills laboratory to engage students in case studies to enhance both the learning and evaluation processes with specific regard to documentation and patient safety. The clinical educator can develop teaching plans that integrate case study scenarios on safe patient care. Students can also create Animoto presentations to develop and display their learning and understanding for evaluation. For this clinical activity, the student-developed Animoto presentations can be centered on the expected learning outcomes that focus on patient safety and documentation to assess and evaluate development. By remaining current in modern trends in technology, nursing educators are able to develop timely and pertinent nursing curricula, so to best prepare future nurses for real time working experiences.

Idea 3: High Fidelity Patient Simulations can be tailored to encompass scenarios that build student abilities in the areas outlined by the expected course outcomes. Without posing any risk to live patients, students can learn to practice appropriately by critically analyzing their way through a given scenario or experience the results of their errors and learn from that process. Students can work to develop their clinical competencies in a safe, controlled environment. Also, the students can engage in situations that may be rare in the clinical setting, thus supporting development of hands-on experience that aligns with the knowledge and critical thought needed to meet expected course outcomes and successfully function post-graduation. Role-playing can be integrated into the High Fidelity Patient Simulations in the nursing skills laboratory. While the life-like computerized simulator typically fills the patient role, students can play a multitude of roles in the scenario. In using the role-playing method to support the teaching-learning process and to evaluate understanding, it is important to inform the students on the use of this technique for assessment ahead of time. The students should be able to take time to choose how they would like to respond to their role, as this process decreases anxiety and awkward feelings, while supporting a successful experience for the students and the educator. With role-playing, the content, and not the performance skill, should be the focus.

Pause, Reflect, and Plan: Practice observing your students and assessing them as individual learners with distinctive needs. What do you notice about your community of learners? What areas of education would benefit from an engaging activity that integrates technology? Think about the ideas that we explored here and make a plan for how you can contribute to enhancing the learning experiences of your group. Let these ideas inspire you to facilitate effective, experiential learning that is unique to your setting and your students.


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