Nurse Educator Resources for Remote Teaching

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A nursing student takes notes while attending a virtual class on her laptop.

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), a highly educated nursing workforce contributes to reduced mortality rates and medication errors and optimized patient outcomes. AACN recommends that nurse educators complete a graduate-level degree, such as a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), because it prepares them to teach in various settings, including remotely.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, remote teaching is increasingly important. However, educators face a number of remote teaching challenges, including building an online-friendly curriculum, accurately judging student performance, and providing authentic learning experiences tied to real-world scenarios. Nurse educator resources, technology, and tools can help nurse educators develop a remote teaching strategy to maximize nursing student learning.

Clinical Education Resources for Online Nursing

Nurse educator resources can help lay the foundation for effective online clinical education strategies and enable nurse educators to build interactive classrooms, useful clinical curriculum modules, and more.

Interactive Classrooms

Through mentorship and varied learning experiences, nurse educators can promote student engagement and make their classrooms more interactive. For example, strategies such as virtual telehealth simulations, online case studies, and remote small group activities can help teach critical thinking, clinical reasoning, and problem-solving skills. A virtual clinic can allow nurse educators to observe and guide students in real-world virtual telehealth sessions.

Effective Clinical Curriculum Modules

Exposure to clinical settings is essential for building skills and community in the nursing profession. But in a time of necessary social distancing, clinical work can be challenging. Various strategies can be employed to create an effective remote clinical curriculum. For example, a clinical curriculum module can include getting teams of nursing students to work together on cases with other health professionals, including physicians. Nurse educators can also have students observe and participate in virtual patient assessments.

Toolkits for Specified Subjects

Online nurse educator resources and toolkits are useful in teaching subjects such as health care informatics and public policy. In nursing informatics, nurse educators prepare students to use data to make sound clinical decisions. Nursing informatics integrates nursing science, information management, and analytical sciences to advance nursing practice.

Nurse educators can also significantly impact the nursing profession by teaching students about public policy. According to Gallup, nurses  rank highest in honesty and ethics  among all professions for the 18th consecutive year. This positions the nursing profession to advocate for public policies that improve the well-being of both health care workers and patients.

Online Clinical Education Resources

The following resources are useful for nurse educators looking to build their own online clinical education strategies:

Nurse Educator Resources: Virtual Classrooms

It is difficult to imagine planning a successful online nursing course without considering clinical education tools and technologies for building an efficiently run remote classroom that enhances learning.

Preparing Secure Remote Testing Environment

Stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic have created challenges in getting students tested and certified. Secure live remote proctoring and online exam proctoring technology can enable remote students to securely take and complete their tests from their own home or office. Technical hardware such as a webcam and microphone and screen-capture capabilities can help ensure the integrity of the test.

Building Teacher-Student Communities Outside the Classroom

Through teleconferencing tools like Zoom, teachers can interact with their students in virtual classrooms. However, a single Zoom room with 50 or more participants is not ideal for one-on-one or small-group discussions. This is why the tool’s breakout rooms feature is popular among educators to facilitate group work and discussions. Other tools that promote teacher-student communities outside the classroom include online discussion boards and social media groups that enable students to share ideas and ask questions.

Addressing Internet and Technology Inequalities

Technology helps nurses in their roles. However, disparities in access to the internet and technology can limit a nursing student’s success. For example, individuals with disabilities or those living in rural communities with limited or unreliable internet access may have limited access to online courses, impacting their learning.

As part of building an efficient remote classroom that enhances learning, nurse educators can develop a guide for students dealing with internet and technology inequalities. The guide can share information about community resources, mobile hot spots, and other wireless communication means. It can also explain how to use offline features in technologies such as Chromebooks and G Suite that allow students to keep learning without internet access at home.

Resources for Building an Effective Virtual Classroom Experience

Nurse educators can access the following resources to further explore how to build an effective virtual classroom experience:

Nurse Educator Resources: Simulations and Experiences

Access to health-related information for clinical practice on the internet, according to a Clujul Medical journal article, enhances care quality and improves nursing communication skills. However, a critical component in nursing education is clinical experience, typically acquired through direct interaction with patients in health care settings.

Social distancing guidelines and the urgent need for experienced health care workers on the front lines have resulted in limited patient interaction in nursing education. To help address the challenge, nurse educators have turned to simulation, a valuable tool to augment learning and prepare nursing students for real-life scenarios. Through simulations, nurses can get exposure to real-life health scenarios, providing opportunities to apply clinical reasoning and answer questions in simulated clinical settings.

Simulation can advance nursing competency by improving clinical knowledge through practice and experience. Strategies for nurse educators looking to build effective simulation and experience modules for online classroom experiences include the following:

Create Care Scenarios Built Upon Real Patient Stories

A module can include targeted questions for unique clinical challenges. Nursing students can work together to find answers, improve their communication skills, and understand real-life situations where collaborative problem-solving is necessary.

Develop Meaningful Interactive Activities That Engage Learners

According to the American Nurses Association (ANA) code of ethics, nurses’ ethical obligations include identifying areas where social injustice exists in health care delivery. For example, health care inequities often affect racial and ethnic minorities, the poor, and the elderly.

A module can simulate health care injustice scenarios, enabling nursing students to use their judgment based on their knowledge of nursing practice. It can also help them develop cultural competency to advocate for patient rights, improve health equity, and ensure everyone has access to the highest level of medical care.

Use Remote Evaluation Strategies

Through structured discussions in remote evaluations, nurse educators can discuss community-centric, population-based, and individual care scenarios with students. Remote evaluations also provide nurse educators with an opportunity to assess their students’ clinical reasoning and nursing practice knowledge in real-life scenarios.

Resources for Creating Simulation and Experience Modules

The following resources and tools can help readers gain further insight into creating simulation and experience modules:

Nurse Educator Resources: Presentation Tools

Too many virtual lectures can disengage students and limit their opportunities to gain the necessary nursing knowledge and skills. Nurse educators can build robust presentations that can keep a remote learning audience fully engaged.

For example, as nursing students prepare for certification, they may turn to various online resources such as test-prep services. Nurse educators can build certification preparation presentations that help point students in the right direction. Presentation content can include information about:

  • Effective study methods, whether on an individual basis or as part of a study group
  • Materials that are most helpful, from textbooks and recorded lectures to videos or memory aids
  • Types of questions that could be asked in an exam and sample questions that can help them get used to the style and format of the certification exam.

Students study at all hours of the day, balancing work, family, and school life. So providing a platform for sharing, storing, and accessing previous presentations that may be useful to them is important. Tools such as Dropbox and Google Drive make it easy to share and access files, including large presentations, securely.

In an environment where much of the learning is taking place virtually, engagement is the key to success. By creating interactive presentations, allowing students to access additional resources in various formats (video, audio, etc.), and providing students with opportunities to interact with others, nurse educators can enhance the learning experience.

Presentation Resources

The following resources and tools provide additional insights for using presentation tools to keep students engaged:

Nurse Education for the Future

The complex and evolving U.S. health care system requires qualified nurses to address rising health care demands. According to the American Nurses Association, 2022 will be a critical year for the nursing workforce — over 500,000 experienced registered nurses are set to retire, creating a shortage of 1.1 million RNs.

As these nurses take their knowledge and skills with them, remote nurse education will play a critical role in addressing the nursing shortage. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, along with the expanding universe of health care technology, has made remote nurse education an increasingly relevant concept in the health care industry. Nurses with advanced education can leverage nurse educator resources to execute nurse education strategies and help meet nursing demands today and tomorrow.