Nursing: High-tech/Low-tech

home-image-1With all this discussion of bringing technology into nursing, it’s important to remember that there are some essential nursing skills that are very low-tech.  I kind of alluded to this in my post on Virtual Reality…these are the skills that can’t be taught with technology alone.  I’m talking about:

  • intercultural skills
  • interpersonal and communication skills
  • caring qualities (kindness, warmth, compassion)
  • etc.

Don’t get me wrong…we need technology to help us learn and advance, but we cannot be nurses without these low-tech skills.  As the American Sentinel University states so clearly, technology may be fine for nurses, but “technology can only work for patients when it’s combined with highly competent, relationship-based care. And this is why nurses must embrace their low-tech skills, as well as develop new high-tech competencies.”

To read more of this article: http://www.americansentinel.edu/blog/2012/05/30/nursing-skills-high-tech-vs-low-tech/

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Virtual reality

Virtual reality = very cool!  This would be a great in nursing education.  Not only for patient simulations, practicing emergency situations, etc., but I also found this article about a virtual reality that includes Non-Player-Characters (e.g. family members, colleagues, visitors).  In this particular article, it was about dealing with the behaviors of a patient with dementia – a tricky task.  The VR allows the nursing students to practice their responses in a safe learning environment prior to testing out their techniques in the real world.small

One interesting point this article makes, is that VR may replace traditional Simulation Based Training, as it is much more cost-effective than purchasing and maintaining mannequins, employment of simulation specialists, etc.  Having gone to a nursing school that had SBT mannequins that no instructor knew how to use, I believe the addition of VR to nursing education would be very advantageous.  But I do think there would need to be a balance of VR and practicing on real people.  Nursing is a ‘people/caring’ profession – and that can’t fully be learned in a virtual setting.

What do you think?

Article Reference: http://vsgames2016.com/proceedings/papers/pid1178378.pdf

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No letter grades here!

Here is a little further reading to my last post.  Apparently there are colleges that don’t give letter grades…not many, and none that I found in Canada.  But here’s a look at some colleges in the States that have innovative grading systems.

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Check out this article for more information on how they score their students: http://www.bestcollegereviews.org/colleges-without-letter-grades/

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Is school more about grades than actual learning?

Here is an interesting live debate, weigh in if you like!  Is school more about grades than actual learning?

I was interested in this topic after marking the first assignment for my nursing school class.  One student made the comment, “oh, we thought it was just an easy assignment so that everyone would get guaranteed full marks as a head start on their final grade”.  In personal appointments with more than one student who was unhappy with their mark, it was very obvious that they were hoping I’d change their score.  Yet, it was very clear when they questioned my marking, that they did not understand the assignment.  I felt then, like it was more the lost points they were worried about then learning why they had lost the marks.  importance-of-grades-to-college-students

It was the same when I marked the midterm exams…  I sent everyone their mark and also let them know what the average score was.  I received 4 emails back (in a class of 38), with students telling me they were disappointed in their score because they were anywhere from 0.2-0.4 points below the class average.  As well, I had one student who was disappointed with her mark – 92%!!  In fact, it was the highest mark in the class.  This kind of response from the students, with a focus on the actual score, rather than the exam content, made me question whether the course means anything to them, or if it’s just a grade.  Perhaps the assessment tools (exams and assignments) need to be re-vamped.  Or, maybe, as this article suggests, the students should appreciate the challenges and the valuable lessons they learned in college, and strive for self-improvement as a result of hard work.

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Patient Power

Smartphones are just that – smart!  There are new apps being developed to help patient’s take control of their own health.  Apps typically are used to help patient’s track or monitor disease processes that are already in place (e.g. tracking blood pressure readings, glucose phone_b_health_check_2011readings for diabetics, etc.) – but there is a new app that can even diagnose a particular medical condition.  The smartphone is used along with a handheld wireless heart monitor.  The device tracks the heart for 30sec and sends the information to the smartphone app.  The device tracked cases of Atrial Fibrillation that had previously been undetected.  From this result, the doctor was able to follow-up and prescribe the appropriate treatment.  Amazing!

The Patient Power aspect draws into the fact that the general public has access to smartphones and these health-related apps.  Though there will be issues with people inaccurately self-diagnosing, this may be an effective way to help people be well informed and motivated to take charge of their health.

Check out the CBC article and RSS feed here

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Cdn Healthcare

So…I knew my class was going to be a snoozer.  The topic was the Canadian Healthcare System, and included the 5 key principles of the Canada Health Act.  Not really riveting information.  Content that I know my students will promptly forget as soon as the last exam is written.  In an attempt to make it a little more appealing (at least visually), I turned the highlights from the class into an infographic for my PIDP course.  Voila!

https://magic.piktochart.com/output/16579951-new-piktochart

And the accompanying Podcast: https://learntoteach.podbean.com/mf/web/3ykcqw/Infographic_Podcast.m4a

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Who knew!?

podcastSo…I’m trying to explore different types of media to share on my blog, so I searched for podcasts related to nursing education.  Lo and behold, I found one – created right here in the lower mainland!  The podcasts come from prn Education and Consulting, a group of instructors who provide advanced courses for Emergency Department, Critical Care and Transport nurses.  Their podcasts are informative (and accurate), and very relevant to current health trends.  They post a new podcast every month, and it is broadcast in both English and French.  All podcasts are posted on a separate website, so that users can browse the episodes and also leave comments.  Check it out: http://nursem.org/en/home/

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Book Review

My college is offering an instructional development workshop, and unfortunately I am unable to go.  But it sounded interesting, so I Googled the title of the workshop, and discovered that it is actually discussing the topics from the book “How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching” by Mayer.51b2baegk6pl-_sx333_bo1204203200_

Unfortunately, I don’t have a copy of the book to provide my own review, but I did find one report that summarized the views of 25 health professions faculty educators.  Being in nursing, this review was very relevant!

The book covers seven topics, discussing them separately in each chapter:

  1. Students’ prior knowledge can serve to help or hinder learning.
  2. Students’ organization of knowledge impacts how students learn and apply what they know.
  3. Motivation determines, directs, and sustains what students learn.
  4. To develop mastery, students must develop the skills, practice integrating them, and know when to apply them.
  5. Goal-directed practice coupled with targeted feedback enhances learning.
  6. Level of learner development interacts with “course” climate to impact learning.
  7. To become self-directed, learners must be able to monitor and adjust their approaches to learning (pages 4–6).

What I liked about the review was that it assured me that the book is relevant for those teaching in the healthcare subjects.  Quite often, educational resources are geared more towards undergrad students, and not those in trades or vocational programs.  But based on the reviews, this book seems pretty great. I’ll be looking to pick up a copy of this book ASAP!

Click here to read the book review and see if it might be helpful for you too!

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Teach teachers how to create magic

I came across this TedTalk today…I was initially viewing talks about teachers who take risks.  But I found this one held my attention – for the exact reason that the clip is about: the speaker has magic.  He has a way of communicating that captivates listeners, keeps them on the edge of their seat waiting to hear what he’ll say next.  Is he taking a risk by using his magic?  I think so!  Straying from traditional teaching methods tends to get a lot of raised eyebrows.  And how about the way colleagues may react?  (Could be interest, feeling upset, envy, or even jealousy).  But if the outcome is having engaged and interested students, then would it not be a risk worth taking?

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Thankful

It’s appropriate to reflect on the topic of ‘Thankful’ on this Thanksgiving Day.  My Facebook feed was filled with friend’s posts of family, turkey dinners, and pumpkin patches.  There are so many things I am thankful for, it would be difficult to sum them up into a photo or status update (although pumpkin pie is pretty high up on the list).  Of course I’m thankful for family and friends.  But I’m also thankful for so many amazing opportunities in my career as a nurse, and now nursing instructor.  It’s a very rewarding career – one in which I feel like I often receive more than I give.  And I am seeing that teaching is very much the same.  It’s an honor to be helping students in their learning journey to become nurses.  It’s a privilege to be a small piece of their education and nursing influence.  So for each of my students, I am thankful.  I’m a mere ripple in their lake of learning, but for me, that is huge.

Here is a cute video from my favorite Kid President – his list of 25 reasons to be thankful (now if only he could become the next real president…):

Happy Thanksgiving!

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