Nursing educators and independent evaluators who have received grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Evaluating Innovations in Nursing Education (EIN) program met in late March and early April in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico, to explore ways to make research findings as useful as possible. The seven EIN projects are evaluating the impact of interventions addressing the nurse faculty shortage on teaching productivity and faculty work life. Sessions focused on: identifying what key constituents need to know in order to replicate effective interventions; and on sharing research outcomes widely. The program’s ultimate goal is to increase the numbers of nursing school graduates.
Michael Bleich, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., dean of the School of Nursing at Oregon Health & Science University and a member of the Committee of the RWJF Initiative on the Future of Nursing at the Institute of Medicine (IOM), gave a keynote address: “Making the Connections: Evaluating Innovations in Nursing, Bridging Health Care Reform and the IOM Future of Nursing.” Bleich challenged grantees to contextualize their work within the changing policy environment. At the three-day meeting, four prominent experts—a nursing school dean, nurse faculty member, chief nursing executive at a large hospital system, and a senior regulatory expert from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing—each provided feedback to leaders from the seven projects that EIN is funding. The goal was to assist grantees in refining their plans for developing guidelines for replication for the nursing academic community.
“Bringing together field experts, evaluators and nurse researchers turned out to be the perfect recipe for a great conversation on what was needed to move research into practice,” said Nancy Fishman, B.S.N., M.P.H., senior program officer at the Foundation.
The first cohort of EIN grantees will participate in a panel session, “The Effectiveness of Interventions Addressing the Nurse Faculty Shortage,” at the National League of Nursing’s Education Summit in Orlando, Florida, in September. Panelists will present preliminary findings from their controlled evaluations of four educational interventions designed to address the nurse faculty shortage by expanding teaching productivity and/or promoting faculty recruitment and retention. The session is intended to engage the audience in exploring the relevance of the interventions to their own teaching programs as well as examine the implications of the findings for implementing recommendations of the IOM report on the future of nursing.
The first cohort of EIN grantees is evaluating:
- Use of Dedicated Education Units in undergraduate clinical education through two projects, one at the University of Portland (Oregon), School of Nursing and the other at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, College of Nursing & Health Sciences;
- A technology-rich, accelerated BSN program (University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, College of Nursing);
- Incorporation of a web-based virtual community (“The Neighborhood”) into the curricula of nursing programs across the country (University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center School of Nursing).
The second cohort of grantees is evaluating:
- The Hawaii Statewide Nursing Consortium Curriculum—a single baccalaureate nursing curriculum for university as well as community college students (University of Hawaii at Manoa, College of Nursing);
- Substitution of clinical simulation for half of the hospital clinical days in medical-surgical rotations (New York University College of Nursing); and
- State-based, support-for-service programs offering incentives for serving on nurse faculties (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Nursing).
“Each of these innovations has the potential to improve and advance nursing education by expanding teaching capacity or promoting faculty recruitment and retention,” said Michael Yedidia, Ph.D., EIN program director and professor at the Center for State Health Policy at Rutgers University. “To fulfill its purpose, the EIN program must assure the development of sound evidence of the effectiveness of these interventions and assure that the findings get into the hands of those in the nursing academic community who are seeking strategies to address the acute shortage of nurse faculty. Our panel at the NLN Education Summit seeks to advance this purpose by presenting evidence of what works, why it works and what is essential for replication.”
Please visit the EIN web site for updates on grantee and national program office research activities at: www.evaluatinginnovationsinnursing.org.