Charting NP Education in a digital world: Building with Technological Blocks

Friday, April 24, 2015
Key Ballroom 11-12 (Hilton Baltimore)
Valerie Gruss, PhD, CNP-BC, College of Nursing, Department of Biobehavioral Health Science, University of Illinois Chicago, Chicago, IL and Lauren Diegel-Vacek, DNP FNP-C, Biobehavioral Health Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing, Chicago, IL
This year’s conference theme: “Charting NP Education: Building Blocks for Excellence” is timely to our topic of ‘teaching digital’. Nursing education today must include technology as a fundamental building block because technology has become foundational to both nursing education and informed nursing practice. Our students today are socially very differently. These "digital native" students have been described as, “accustomed to the twitch-speed, multitasking, random-access, graphics-first, active, connected, fun, fantasy, quick-payoff world of video games, MTV, and Internet are bored by most of today’s education, well meaning as it may be. But worse, the many skills that new technologies have actually enhanced (e.g., parallel processing, graphics awareness, and random access) which have profound implications for their learning—are almost totally ignored by educators. The majority of our nurse practitioner students today are digital natives. Faculty need to build their skills and competencies in use of digital learning technologies to keep them engaged. Learning new approaches to education provides a better fit for these students and promotes their academic success as well as preparing them for future technologic advances. The objectives of our presentation are to: (1) recognize the difference between the “digital native” students and “digital immigrants” and how it impacts learning. Since most nursing faculty are digital immigrants we must work to change our own attitudes and learn to adopt these technologies to better prepare our students. (2) Identify best practices to integrate digital learning into nurse practitioner curricula for both didactic content and clinical practice applications. In today’s clinical practice we have an array of available digital devices and electronic resources to choose from including diagnostic tools, the most current evidence-based guidelines and pharmalogic data. (3) Design course content incorporating web-based patient case studies, replacing textbooks with electronic books and including downloadable fun study games for learning. Technology is key to accessing up to date information to inform our decision-making and apply to clinical practice. As educators we need to embrace our digital native students and prepare them for technological advancement and their future clinical practice in the 21st century.