Major Article 

Lessons Learned in Multisite, Nursing Education Research While Studying a Technology Learning Innovation

Sarah North, MS; Jean Giddens, PhD, RN, FAAN

  • Journal of Nursing Education
  • October 2013 - Volume 52 · Issue 10: 567-573
  • DOI: 10.3928/01484834-20130313-02


Multiple challenges must be addressed when educational research is being conducted that involves a teaching innovation at multiple sites over time, including the consistent adoption and use of the intervention, attrition, response rates, and other aspects related to managing a complex study. After an 18-month nursing education study was conducted at multiple institutions across the United States, the authors’ study team reflected on strategies that worked well, the challenges faced, and what could have been done differently. This article details the challenges and offers recommendations for other researchers conducting similar studies. Recommendations related to communication and engagement, innovation fidelity, survey fatigue, multiple institutional review board applications, and flexibility are provided. [J Nurs Educ. 2013;52(10):567–573.]

Ms. North is a PhD candidate, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Dr. Giddens is Dean and Professor, School of Nursing, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia.

The authors received funding for this study, provided by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as part of the “Innovations in Nursing Education” program. The authors thank the site principal investigators and key collaborators, Dr. Linnea-Carlson Sabelli, Dr. Louis Fogg, Dr. Ruth Fiedler, and Janie Urbanic, Rush University College of Nursing; faculty consultants, Dr. Michele Aebersold and Ms. Cindy Fenske, University of Michigan School of Nursing; and Dr. Laura Gonzalez, University of Central Florida College of Nursing.

Dr. Giddens receives royalties based on the sales of The Neighborhood, which is a commercial product owned by Pearson Publishing and described in this article. Ms. North has disclosed no potential conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise.

Address correspondence to Jean Giddens, PhD, RN, FAAN, Dean and Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing, 1100 E. Leigh St., Richmond, VA 23298; e-mail:

Received: January 28, 2013
Accepted: May 01, 2013
Posted Online: September 13, 2013



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