Building an Educational Model that Promotes Competence Through Innovation

Baccalaureate degree program in nursing pairs online content delivery with simulations and traditional nursing program clinical rotations.

Nurse educators at the Western Governors University College of Health Professions (Salt Lake City), have created a baccalaureate nursing education model that combines innovative online didactic methods with human patient simulations.

The authors, both faculty at the university, describe the cognitive knowledge, task skill knowledge, situated use of knowledge and synthesis of knowledge and ethical comportment (CTUS) model approach they used as a framework:

  • Content Knowledge—delivered in an asynchronous online format that includes electronic textbooks, tutorials, and case studies. Students must pass objective exams, and complete projects and performance-based tasks to progress.
  • Task Skill Knowledge/Use of Knowledge—Simulation labs in hospitals or schools of nursing local to the student offer a full complement of human simulators (adult, child, mother–baby) where students are observed by local instructors. They are evaluated and must achieve competency before they can progress to the clinical element of the course.
  • Synthesis of Knowledge and Ethical Comportment—The university partners with clinical facilities and MSN-prepared instructors to provide students with a “real world” hospital nursing practice clinical setting where they synthesize and apply their knowledge. Students are observed daily and assessed by BSN-prepared coaches based on defined “key behaviors.”

Student satisfaction has been “overwhelmingly positive,” the authors write. Preliminary evidence shows that the CTUS approach is “an effective framework for increasing student capacity while ensuring that new graduates have the competencies needed for the practice environment.”