180269 Using technology to reduce training barriers for public health nurses

Monday, October 27, 2008: 2:50 PM

Jeanette Kunnath, MEd , Michigan Public Health Training Center, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI
Dina Kurz, MHSA , Michigan Public Health Training Center, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI
A national study found that 60 percent of public health nurses do not have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree nor formal training in community-based nursing. Local public health nurse administrators in Michigan have identified barriers to community health training for these nurses to include travel time and cost restrictions placed on nurses by their organizations, and the need for training to be convenient, flexible, and portable.

To address this need, an 8-week blended learning course was designed for public health nurses without a BSN degree who work in community health settings in Michigan. The terminal course objective was to introduce and solidify the basic principles of public health as they apply to community health nursing. A secondary course objective was to increase the comfort of practitioners with the course technology and other online tools. Throughout this course, students were guided to think critically about the role and core competencies of community health nursing in promoting health, preventing disease, and restoring health.

Over eight weeks, 22 public health practitioners (the majority community health nurses) in Michigan participated in a blended learning experience: two face-to-face sessions via Interactive Television (ITV) and six weeks in an online mode under the mentorship of two nursing instructors. To ensure student success, adult learning theories were integrated into the course design, exercises, and activities.

Students completed a pre- and post course survey assessing 35 performance tasks. The final results indicated a noted increase in their confidence to perform these tasks. Although this course was designed for non-BSN nurses, other public health practitioners found the course beneficial to their work. High retention occurred with 21 of the 22 students completing the course. Results showed that students' self-concept grew in large part due to their successful completion of assignments, the collaborative environment, and the feedback provided by the instructors.

Learning Objectives:
Describe three benefits of using technology to accommodate nurses' education and training needs Demonstrate three benefits of incorporating adult learning principles into technology-based training

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the instructional designer for the online course and worked closely with the instructors.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.