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Friday 19 July 2024
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Interactive online learning in nursing education

Interactive online learning in nursing education

Nursing is one of the most important roles within healthcare and one that ensures that patients get the highest quality of care possible. Without nurses to look after them, patients would not see the same positive outcomes in terms of recovery or the ability to manage ongoing medical conditions. Nurses also play a vital role in educating patients about living a healthier lifestyle and vaccination programs that could help them avoid potentially dangerous illnesses.

Education is also something that is key for anyone who is thinking of becoming a nurse. As you might expect, it is vital to pick up the relevant skills and knowledge before starting work in the sector. By the same token, people working in the industry already can also derive great value from further education within it.

Why is focused education so important for nurses?

Getting the right education in nursing is important for anyone looking to break into the industry for a number of reasons, the most obvious being that it ensures that nursing professionals have the know-how to carry out their duties effectively and safely. If a nurse has not been trained on how to dress a wound properly, for example, then they may not do it hygienically and this could see the wound become infected.

Nursing education is also essential for anyone looking to navigate this career path because it equips them with the right skillset to excel in the role. This means that they get more from nursing on a personal level and can also build up a reputation within their facility as a competent, well-trained professional. This can be excellent for future career opportunities and can certainly help when looking to move up the career ladder.

Of course, nursing education is not just critical for people coming into the industry for the first time. Qualified nurses can achieve continued professional development through further education and expand their own career opportunities in turn. A qualified registered nurse, for example, may decide that they want to move into a family nurse practitioner role and study a program while working that helps them do so.

What is interactive online learning in nursing education?

There is no doubt how important nursing education is for the sector in general and anyone either looking to break into it or working in it already. Nursing education in the modern age looks a lot different from how it did in the past though. This is easy to see when you look at the current courses that nurses can study and compare the content to the training programs from 50 years ago.

Constant innovation has enabled this to happen, and nowhere is this seen more around nursing now than interactive online learning. This way of learning sees courses delivered via the internet and enables students to get fully involved with lessons and seminars.

The interactive nature of study allows students to really get a feel for what is being taught and helps them to understand it on a deeper level. Many nursing students find studying online interactively more interesting than sitting and taking notes in more traditional-style classes.

What benefits does interactive online learning offer for nursing education?

This way of learning is certainly a lot different from more traditional modes of study. In the past, for example, going to class would have meant having to attend in person, on campus, and physically be present. Interactive online learning has changed this though and transformed how nurses can get the quality training they need.

But what specific benefits does this way of learning bring to the industry? To begin with, it offers a far more flexible and convenient way of studying than more traditional approaches. Being able to learn when you want and where you want, for example, is a lot more convenient than having to attend classes in person, which may be at inconvenient times for you.

Many students also like the practical benefits that interactive online learning delivers. Not having to travel to classes in person, for example, is less hassle and cuts down on travel expenses. Some nursing students also like the experience that engaging in online interactive learning offers and feel more comfortable studying in their own space and without large numbers of people around them.

Immersive online learning is also handy for when students want to stop the lesson to take a break, pause to take extra notes, or rewind if they didn’t quite understand the content given immediately.

How has interactive online learning been integrated into nursing education?

The benefits of learning online in a more interactive way has seen this mode of study quickly become popular for nursing education. As a result, there are multiple ways that it can be found in the modern nursing education field.

But what are some of the most common ways that immersive online learning is integrated into nurse training? Below, we take a look at some examples – courses for trainee nurses, further academic learning for qualified nurses, in-house training for working nurses, and virtual reality tech used for training purposes.

Interactive online courses for trainee nurses

One of the best examples of how this way of learning has been incorporated into nursing education are online academic courses at popular universities for trainee nurses. This is not a surprise when you consider how online learning has risen in popularity across higher education in general.

For nursing education specifically though, online courses that allow trainees to study in a more interactive way stand out. This is due to the high-quality learning they deliver, the unique student experience they offer, and the way that courses are structured.

A focus on interactive learning for online courses in nursing, for example, means that classes are delivered in a way that encourages students to get involved with them. This could be actively researching information around nursing ethics in an online class, rather than just being verbally told about it by the teacher.

Interactive online learning for nurses also extends into their experience outside of the classroom in a positive way. Most online courses now, for example, will encourage cohorts to interact virtually outside of class via tools such as video call. This can also see students on these courses being able to better interact with tutors via mediums such as text, email or online messaging apps.

To become a nurse online, finding the right interactive course is key. ABSN programs are a popular option – the Hybrid BSN (ABSN) online program from the Holy Family University is a 14-month course which includes clinical placements for students. It delivers truly immersive learning on core subjects such as evidence-based practice, coupled with hands-on experience in the field of nursing.

Further academic learning for qualified nurses

As we have already noted, interactive online learning is not just seen within nursing education for those coming into the sector but is also something that has become increasingly popular in terms of continuing professional development for already qualified nurses. The most obvious example of this is online academic courses that are designed to deliver immersive learning for nurses looking to advance their career.

A qualified registered nurse, for example, may well look at online courses that deliver interactive learning elements to specialize in a particular field moving ahead. This allows them to pick up the specific skills needed to open up new career horizons to them in areas such as pediatrics, midwifery or adult-gerontology. Also, the interactive way that lessons are delivered using the latest digital tech/platforms makes these types of academic courses more interesting to study and more effective at building new skills.

In-house training for working nurses

Continuing education for working nurses is not just about studying interactive academic courses online to expand their knowledge base. This sort of approach to education is also a key part of how many facilities in the industry deliver in-house training to staff. This sees immersive online learning programs taking over from more traditional ways of delivering in-house training in hospitals, clinics and community centers.

But what does this actually look like in practice, and why can it prove more beneficial than previous CPD approaches? A good example might be a mandatory training course around new best practice procedures for patient care that all nurses in a facility need to complete.

This could be delivered via an online training course that nurses can log into easily from their desk whenever they have time. If this course were also to include interactive elements (such as multiple-choice questions on content or matching the right statement to the right question around new procedures), then it could have even more of a positive impact on learning.

Choosing to deliver in-house training in this way is a lot more interesting for staff and also a lot more flexible than running a training session in the more traditional way. As a result, it can help to increase the number of nurses in a facility who complete the training and also the speed at which this happens.

Virtual reality tech for specific training purposes

Virtual reality (VR) is a subject that has made the latest education news in a general sense, but has definitely become a hot topic within nurse training now. VR has become widely integrated into how both new and already qualified nurses are taught certain practical skills for patient care.

A good example for new nursing students may be using VR tech to practice inserting an IV drip into a patient. This enables the student to practice as much as they want online in an interactive way and pick up vital experience of how to perform this task. It also means that any initial mistakes they make are done virtually and do not have any harmful effects on real-life patients.

Immersive online VR tech has also been integrated into nursing to help working professionals in the sector learn new tasks or brush-up on skills they have not used for a while. If there is a new task suddenly added to a nurse’s role in a clinic, for example, VR tech can help them quickly get up to speed with it in a hassle-free way.

Interactive online learning combined with hands-on experience

The above sets out a few ways that interactive online learning has become integrated into nursing education and why it is such a positive force. However, hands-on experience is still key for nurses and plays an important role for trainees or those looking to move into a brand-new niche. A good example of this is the multiple clinical placements that nursing students have to complete before graduating.

This makes the combination of online interactive learning and hands-on experience one that is common in nurse education. Although this presents itself in different ways, the influence it can have on clinical skills development is perhaps most crucial. This is especially true when it comes to critical thinking, which is a core skill for any nurse to possess.

But what is critical thinking, why is it key for nursing staff, and how can immersive digital learning combined with hands-on experience enhance it?

Critical thinking for nursing professionals

Critical thinking in nursing refers to the ability of nurses to think logically when on duty, to analyze situations, and make correct decisions based on this analysis. It demands that they are always thinking about what is happening, how best to resolve any issues, and how procedures may be refined moving forward. Critical thinking in nursing is therefore important not only for problem-solving and patient care levels, but also for the development of the industry moving ahead.

The combination of online interactive education and practical experience is vital for boosting critical thinking in nursing because it helps students to hone their skills in this area. When it comes to online interactive learning, critical thinking is something that will also be emphasized by nurse educators and explained in detail.

In terms of hands-on experience, this can be good for developing critical thinking as trainee nurses will be expected to show this skill when on placement. As such, they get a lot of practice at thinking critically before moving into the industry and have higher levels of this skill to rely on.

Of course, what the above shows is that the best levels of critical thinking in qualified nurses are achieved through both online immersive teaching and practical placements. The online learning element is key for teaching students about critical thinking theory, while the hands-on element enables them to practice it in a real-world setting.

Boosting confidence in clinical skills

Although the way that both elements combine to boost critical thinking is worth focusing on, this is not the only positive impact that they can have on clinical skills. A good example of this is how both combine to foster high-level clinical skills in nurses overall, which they then have the confidence to use in their role.

Online learning in an interactive way begins this process by introducing students to new concepts, how best to perform certain tasks, and what common tasks working in the sector might involve. It may also use interactive digital technology to allow students to practice certain key procedures online and from the safety of the virtual classroom. This sees them heading into practical placements a lot more confident than they would otherwise be, due to the practice they have already had.

Practical experience builds on this by showing nurses that they are able to take what they have learnt into the real world and perform their duties to the required level. This combines to see graduates leave with not only the clinical skills to thrive but also the confidence to use them.

What would happen in nursing education without this combination?

The true value of combining practical experience with immersive online learning is best summed up by considering what would happen if this were not to take place. If there were only online learning in an interactive way, for example, nurses would find out about the theory of practice and even try out performing tasks in a safe, virtual setting with no pressure. However, this would not prepare them for what it’s like to perform these procedures on a busy ward and with real-life patients.

If there were only practical experience as part of nursing courses, students would be thrown in at the deep end and be expected to start caring for patients with no base of knowledge to call upon. This would be very bad for the sector and likely put patients at risk. As a result, it becomes clear that combining both approaches is the most sensible option.

The positive impact of online interactive learning in nursing education

Practical experience has been a key part of nursing education for many years and is still an important part of any training in the industry. Online interactive learning is a more recent development, but one that is already having a positive impact due to its widespread integration in nursing education.

The real secret to producing confident nursing staff with the right clinical skills to prosper lies in balancing the two. By giving nurses the chance to learn interactively and then put this into practice in the real world, the industry is ensuring that the next generation of professionals is ready to offer the highest levels of patient care.