Broadening skills and creating affordable resources for nursing students

English description: Bird’s eye view of a nurse’s hands using a black blood pressure monitor on a patient’s arm. description en français: vue des mains d’une infirmière qui utilise un tensiomètre noir sur le bras d’un patient.
03.06.2019 - 3 min. Read

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

A new initiative developing high-impact educational resources will strengthen Ontario nursing programs, save students money and provide new graduates and practicing nurses with a broadened skill set.

eCampusOntario’s Open at Scale – Nursing OER project is a collaborative initiative that targets open educational resource (OER) development in the health care field. OER are openly accessible, free or low cost and available to share, modify or repurpose. Program Manager Lindsay Woodside, who describes the nursing initiative as “a collaborative, iterative process toward creating high-impact, maximum-reach OER,” explains why this type of content is necessary.

“We’ve been informed through consultation with stakeholders that there is a need for high-quality nursing OER in an Ontario-based context that targets timely issues within the discipline,” she says. “The open content that’s currently available is good, but the discipline could benefit from better coverage of OER across nursing programs, with an eye to more Canadian content.”

Dr. Jennifer Lapum, Professor at the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing, Ryerson University (and Senior Advisor to eCampusOntario on this project), adds that this work has not only academic but also social benefits: “The Open at Scale Nursing Project is an innovative social justice initiative that promotes inclusive and accessible learning by adding to the database of open educational resources available for nursing students.”

To shape the project, team members from eCampusOntario first met with a group of representatives from Ontario’s post-secondary health care programs. After identifying some common foundational topics, representatives created a list of in-demand subtopics, including cultural safety, immunizations, the recently restructured Canada’s Food Guide, subjective health assessment, and patient safety.

A series of sprints to develop the OER is currently underway. “It’s very exciting,” says Lindsay. “The sprints are focused in three distinct areas: subjective health assessment, immunizations, and Canada’s new food guide. These topics are timely and will have broad relevance for all programs focused in health care professions.”

The sprints focus on building the OER content. Subject matter experts first draft the text using Pressbooks, a digital publishing platform. In the second phase, educators and designers collaborate to embed interactivity and multimedia using tools like H5P. Nursing students, including student biomedical communicators, will be involved throughout the process as contributors.

Ultimately, students at Ontario’s 39 college and university nursing programs will see a broadened repository of Ontario-minded health care content, and Lindsay notes that the impact reaches even farther. “Educators will have the opportunity to teach key material in a way that’s complimentary to how students learn today, and contributors will have the opportunity to help build a stronger health-focused community of practice,” she says.

By prioritizing affordable learning resources for students and engaging faculty in the creation and adaptation of OER, eCampusOntario hopes to boost program enrolment in this high-demand educational area and enable upskilling for in-practice nurses.

The three OER will be ready to adopt for the Fall 2019 semester. For more updates, visit the Open at Scale – Nursing OER website: https://nursing.openatscale.ca/