Nurse Education and the Flipped Classroom

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Nurse on tablet

With an increase in the development and use of teaching technology, implementing the flipped classroom in medical education can be an effective way of allowing students to actively engage in their learning. The flipped classroom method students learn concepts on their own through assigned homework. Class time is then devoted to application through discussion and interactive group activities where students can master the concepts they’ve learned.

“To prepare nurses to practice in today’s complex practice environment, there are calls for change and transformation in how nursing education is implemented. [… To meet the call for transformation, nursing education will require a move away from current content-laden curricula and teacher-centered learning,” Connie Barbour and Jenny B. Schuessler wrote in “A preliminary framework to guide implementation of the Flipped Classroom Method in nursing education.”

While the flipped-classroom method is not widely used in nursing schools today, it is emerging as a new and better approach to teaching millennials. Registered nurses (RNs) who hope to become nurse educators should learn how to apply the new teaching method to the classroom, shifting teaching strategies to a student-centered model.

How Does a Flipped Classroom Work?

Flipped classrooms are also referred to as learner-centered classrooms where instead of a focus on instructor lectures, the emphasis is placed on providing students with opportunities that encourage critical thinking and the application of the knowledge.

Rather than a two-hour lecture with students passively taking notes, the flipped classroom method places responsibility on students for viewing or listening to a slide presentation or podcast at their own convenience.

For a video segment, instructors might create a PowerPoint presentation that is accompanied by a voice recording. Podcast recording is another option for conveying content. This method allows students to pause, rewind, or replay segments to take better notes or to jot down questions to ask in class. Most importantly, it allows students to achieve a comfort level with the subject matter before coming to class so that they may more actively engage in the in-class activities.

Preparing to Teach Using the Flipped Classroom Method

Although the responsibility for learning the content is shifted more heavily to the students, nurse educators must prepare by creating engaging content, learning about and being proficient with different teaching technologies, and understanding the different learning styles of students.

“Before implementing this novel approach, I had to educate myself about it. I joined a network that promotes the flipped classroom, read many articles, and interviewed a staff member in my school’s information technology (IT) department who’d worked with another professor in flipping her class.” said Donna Volpe, RN, in America Nurse Today.

As important as the knowledge of teaching technology is, understanding adult learning behaviors is equally important. Not only should content be engaging, it should also be adaptable to different learner study strategies.

In an editorial for NCBI, Dr. Dustyn E. Williams says, “For example, visual and auditory learners should do well with video content, whereas reading/writing learners may prefer written notes. Kinesthetic learners may want to deal with problems and vignettes as preparation. Thus, a prework for all comers cannot be a one-size-fits-all lecture either. Rather, a combination of reading and viewing material, questions, and cases is necessary to facilitate all learning strategies.”

The Benefits of a Flipped Classroom in Nursing Education

The benefits of a flipped classroom in nursing education are compelling.

“Some educators champion the flipped classroom as the next frontier of medical education,” said Williams. Studies show that a flipped classroom increases active engagement and improves performance outcomes for nursing students. Additionally, students who experience a flipped classroom demonstrate improved accountability for their learning and respond well to activities catered to their learning styles.

Nurse educators are also responding favorably to the implementation of a flipped classroom. According to Barbour and Schuessler, nurse educators report “improved delivery and interaction with the course content without overloading the student… and increased student satisfaction.”

In medical education, not even technology will replace seeing an actual patient. But the flipped classroom method is increasing in popularity as an effective teaching tool. As Williams concludes, “By pushing students to learn essential medical knowledge and build skills and abilities beyond information recall, the flipped classroom represents a promising modality in medical education.”

About Duquesne University’s Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Program

Duquesne University is a pioneer in nursing education and graduates of the online MSN and online Post-Master’s Certificate in Nurse Education & Faculty Role programs have been lauded as some of the most creative and innovative nurse educators in the field today.

The best way to prepare for the future of nursing is to help shape it, which is why Duquesne is consistently recognized by the National League for Nursing (NLN) as a Center for Excellence that nurtures the creation of a strong and diverse nursing workforce through technology-infused education, community-based practice and ethical behavior. The MSN curriculum is designed to help prepare graduates to sit for the Certification for Nurse Educators (CNE) exam.

With a Duquesne University Master of Science in Nursing Education and Faculty Role, graduates can be prepared to have an impact on the future of nursing in their communities and around the world. For more information, contact Duquesne University today.




A preliminary framework to guide implementation of The Flipped Classroom Method in nursing education: Science Direct

Flipping Your Classroom: American Nurse Today

Nursing Students Choose Their Own Role in a Flipped Classroom Approach: Journal of Nursing Education

The Future of Medical Education: Flipping the Classroom and Education Technology: NCBI

The Flipped Classroom Applied to the Clinical Skills Lab Setting: Journal of Healthcare Communications