Innovations in Online Learning For Future Nurse Educators

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Innovations in online learning, technology, and teaching methods have revolutionized nursing education. These changes have allowed nursing students to continue their career and family demands while pursuing advanced healthcare degrees. At the same time, nurse educators have even greater flexibility in teaching options.

Nurses practicing on test dummy

More than ever, nurses are expected to enter the workforce knowing how to utilize new technology in everyday settings, so nurse educators are expected to teach the information effectively. The latest developments in learning—including artificial learning and adaptive technologies—help nurse educators provide better student outcomes, including better scores on the certification and credentials testing and increased preparedness for real-world practice.

“Technology moves teaching strategies in a direction that engages the learner. Faculty need to be both educated and supported to adopt the technologies that will challenge students to be critical thinkers, problem-solvers, collaborators, and lifelong learners,” authors Sue Forneris and Jone Tiffany said in “The What and Why of Technology Use in Today’s Nursing Student.”

On the cutting edge of online learning innovations are higher-education institutions that understand the challenges for both nurses and nurse educators.

“Higher education institutions are responsible for preparing qualified graduates based on program outcomes,” Mary Ellen Smith Glasgow, dean and professor at Duquesne University School of Nursing, et al., said in “Online Nursing Education: Virtual Classrooms and Clinical Simulations Help Meet Student Needs.”

“A carefully crafted program evaluation plan based on national accreditation standards is a critical component for all graduate programs, but especially for schools that implement innovations like an online graduate program.”

Technology And Online Learning In Higher Education

The connection between technology, innovation, and education has long been of interest to researchers. A 2017 report on emerging technology in education, by the New Media Consortium and Educause, found there are several factors for the future success of online learning:

Advance a culture of innovation

Higher education institutions must nurture a culture of experimentation and embrace changes to curriculums that would remove limits on new idea development.

Encourage deeper learning experiences

Students must be able to make a connection between coursework and the real world. Methods that include project-based and challenge-based learning foster experiential learning.

Focus on new ways to measure learning outcomes

With changes to technology, online education, and blended coursework, higher education institutions must redesign testing measures to determine subject mastery.

Improvement in technology infrastructures

Upgraded wireless bandwidth, utilizing 3D content for lab simulations, and developing ways for distance interactions with objects, such as a human body in an anatomy lab, can improve student access to learning.

Increase blended learning opportunities

Combining online and face-to-face interactions can promote independent study and tailored learning experiences.

Expand collaborative learning

Cloud-based services and other digital tools encourage collaboration between students and educators, allowing for interactions and shared ideas.

Innovations In Nursing Education

At the same time, multiple studies show technology continues to support new ways of learning. Recently, the National League of Nursing found 82.9 percent of nursing students said technology had enhanced their learning. The survey also found 65 percent of nursing education programs use virtual simulation, 84 percent use instructional videos for skills enhancement, and 75 percent utilize online or distance learning.

 Technology tools have allowed online nurse educators to reach students in more ways than ever. For example, Duquesne University nursing faculty found students who participate in online communities and discussion forums are engaged and committed to their education. The following are some of the ways Duquesne University nursing educators engage nursing students for a better mastery of skills:

Virtual patients

Virtual patients allow students to assess and diagnose medical problems while giving educators the opportunity to provide feedback. Duquesne University utilizes Shadow Health’s Digital Clinical Experience for fully immersive online clinical practice. Through the virtual patient, named Tina Jones, students can perform physical assessments, differential diagnoses, and medical management.

Virtual communities

Created through a Duquesne University student-faculty collaboration, the virtual community Dusonburgh allows students to interact with characters with varied medical and social backgrounds and learn more about population-based health and primary care.

Testing and assessment integrity

Using the nursing education software Examsoft, Duquesne University’s nursing educators create secure online exams that test performance and the effectiveness of the coursework.

Course management

Faculty and students stay in contact through web-based discussion boards, wikis, blogs, and real-time video conferencing. Educators create content, homework and classwork assignments, and testing via online platforms.

Synchronous coursework

Studies show students value live classes that allow them to interact with peers and faculty in an online classroom setting.

Teaching Tomorrow’s Nurse Educators

Leaders in the nursing education field acknowledge the barriers between working as a nurse clinician and moving to a nurse educator position. Duquesne University works to bridge the gap between clinician and educator for the betterment of the nursing profession.

Through Duquesne University’s online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)program, aspiring nurse educators track through individualized coursework based on national standards. New students are acclimated to the graduate nursing program and online learning through a variety of support services, including a dedicated academic advisor, a faculty mentor, and a private student intranet site.

About Duquesne University’s Online MSN in Nursing Education And Faculty Role

Duquesne University has been a leader in online nursing education since introducing the first online Ph.D. in Nursing program in 1997. The university’s online MSN program allows students worldwide to actively participate in virtual learning programs, digital clinical experiences, and virtual population health simulations.

An MSN in Nursing Education and Faculty Roles prepares graduates to teach the next generation of nurses, with a focus on curriculum design, educational theory, and trends in nursing education. Since 2008, the National League for Nursing has recognized the university as a Center of Excellence.