Advanced practice registered nurses play a pivotal role in the education of many individuals who interact with the health care system. These individuals range in their level of knowledge and experience within health care from patients with no medical background to seasoned clinicians. Pediatric nurse practitioners (PNPs) have an additional audience, the families of their pediatric patients. Previous research has demonstrated the effectiveness of PNP-led educational sessions with resident physicians, which demonstrated the importance of preparing PNP students for the role of educating other health care professionals, as well as patients and their families (Borgmeyer, Gyr, Ahmad, Ercole, & Balakas, 2017). In an effort to increase the comfort and experience of PNP students with educating individuals with disparate levels of knowledge, an experiential simulated learning assignment was developed. The simulation experience granted students an opportunity to experience providing education to pediatric patients and their families, RNs, and resident physicians. Rooted in Mezirow's transformative learning theory, the assignment allowed students to learn through instrumental and communicative methods (Mezirow, 1991; Pepin et al., 2017).
The goal of the transformative experience was to provide students with a simulated educational opportunity to understand the cause and effect that their educational sessions have on learners with disparate levels of knowledge. The following student objectives guided the simulated experience:
- Demonstrate the required change in vernacular, terminology, and phrasing needed to educate pediatric patients and their families, RNs, and resident physicians.
- Develop an educational plan for audiences with disparate levels of knowledge and understanding.
- Create communication aids that allow the audience to understand and retain the information being delivered.
- Critique their own comfort and ability to provide education to different audiences.
In this individual assignment, the student chose a disease process from the body system they were assigned. The student then thoroughly reviewed the disease process to understand the pathophysiology, etiology, management, complications, prognosis, and outcomes. The student developed a plan of education, including communication aids, for different audiences. The audiences included pediatric patients and their families, RNs, and resident physicians. Aids included handouts, models, videos, and mobile applications, among others. For pediatric patients, the student recorded themselves providing education in a child-friendly manner. The student explained to the child the diagnosis, provided management tips for the disease, and demonstrated how to explain their diagnosis to their friends, family, and other adults. The student's plan of education for families included the disease process and management but also complications, prognosis, and adjustments to daily life that are needed to care for a child with a particular diagnosis. Finally, the student developed a plan of education for RNs and resident physicians. During this assignment, the student taught the pathophysiology, management, prognosis, complications, and complication mitigation of the disease process. The student video recorded each of these simulated educational sessions using a volunteer actor. A faculty member then reviewed the videos and met with their assigned student to offer feedback. The student was given the opportunity to reflect on his or her performance, seek additional guidance, and identify his or her own strengths and opportunities for improvement.
Results and Conclusion
The PNP plays a significant role in the education of patients, families, and other health care providers. It is of the utmost importance that advanced practice registered nurse students are provided with an experiential learning opportunity to practice being health care educators. This assignment has been successful in equipping students with these education skills. Students have expressed how the assignment allows them to practice and experiment with different communication aids in an environment where they can make mistakes without fear of embarrassment. This type of instructional learning allows students to understand the impact of their communication skills on the intended audience. Students also expressed appreciation for the feedback from instructors on how better to deliver information in a format that is appropriate for the audience. Because of this assignment, students are better equipped to communicate with learners representing multiple audiences and populations.
Jeremy Jordan, MSN, CRNP, CPNP-AC,
Tedra S. Smith, DNP, CRNP, CPNP-PC,
University of Alabama at Birmingham
School of Nursing
- Borgmeyer, A., Gyr, P.M., Ahmad, E., Ercole, P.M. & Balakas, K. (2017). Pediatric nurse practitioners effective in teaching providers the Asthma Action Plan using simulation. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 34, 53–57. doi:10.1016/j.pedn.2017.01.002 [CrossRef]
- Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative dimensions of adult learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
- Pepin, J., Goudreau, J., Lavoie, P., Bélisle, M., Blanchet Garneau, A., Boyer, L. & Lechasseur, K. (2017). A nursing education research framework for transformative learning and interdependence of academia and practice. Nurse Education Today, 52, 50–52. doi:10.1016/j.nedt.2017.02.001 [CrossRef]