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Nursing and Theatre programs working together to improve patient teaching

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Nursing students may be surprised to find that their skills as a teacher are a critical component of their success as a nurse. Given that studies have shown a clear link between patient knowledge and patient success, Becky Faett, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown (UPJ), thought it was time for nurses to do more to educate their patients. According to Faett, “Studies have shown that patients who have a better understanding and are able to embrace their own mission have better outcomes. If you have no conception of why you’re doing something, then you’re less likely to do it.”

Nursing programs almost always introduce the importance of patient education early on; however, experience in a community setting does not usually occur until the final year of study. This gap led Faett to propose the creation of four video-supported interactive modules for sophomore nursing students. The ACIE project, “Nurses That Can Teach: Addressing the Importance of Patient Education, will use professional actors from the UPJ Theatre Arts Program for videos that will illustrate good and bad examples of teaching patients.

Faett believes that just watching a video wouldn’t be enough. She says “It’s not a question of watching the video; it’s a question of interacting with the video. So the clinical faculty that are there will be able to stop and ask questions about what happened. The students will be interacting with other students, their peers, and the faculty—making suggestions for improvement and recognizing what went well.” This kind of critical thinking is an important part of nursing education, and because nursing is such a hands-on profession, it’s very important to make the experience real, engaging, and applicable.

The filming will take place in an environment that is just like a real hospital. Faett says “Our labs, where we’ll make the videos, are set up to look like hospitals. Everything looks like a hospital so that they can practice all the skills that they need to.” Because it is so difficult to get permission to film in a real hospital, having access to the lab will prove to be a great time-saver for the production crew.

In addition to the film, there are other deliverables. “We are also developing an educational booklet or media guide for the clinical instructors for them to use since it is going to be used in a clinical setting. Our plan is that we will be implementing this in the spring semester—that is when we have over 200 students between Oakland and Johnstown.” The faculty who use the materials will be trained on how to best implement these resources in the classroom and the program will have strong department support on both campuses. Focus groups from each campus will be given a chance to offer feedback on the materials.

By Joe Horne, CIDDE


SEPTEMBER 2013

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Flipping the class: Improving Critical Thinking and Analytical Skills in a Large Introductory Cell Biology Class
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Nursing and Theatre programs working together to improve patient teaching

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