Background: Beginning in 2021, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) refocused educational standards using a competency-based approach for baccalaureate and master’s degree programs. The AACN Essentials outline necessary curriculum content and expected competencies for graduates, with a renewed emphasis on informatics, quality, and patient safety.
Although informatics and healthcare technologies competencies are one of 10 domains required by AACN for quality nursing education, few schools have a dedicated course for teaching these competencies for future nurses and nurse leaders. A small survey of nursing schools identified that 44% of BSN programs do not teach a separate course for informatics but thread it into curriculum, and 12% of programs reported that informatics was not covered at the BSN level. 24% of programs teach informatics as a standalone course, and 21% of courses combine informatics with another course (personal communication, July 26, 2022).
Use of information systems to evaluate healthcare quality, track and trend healthcare data, and understand healthcare policy related to informatics and technology (specifically HIPAA, HITECH and The Cures Act) have been hallmarks of Capital’s nursing informatics and tech Health courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels. The purpose of this poster is to identify essential nursing informatics competencies and highlight student-focused assignments to improve informatics and technology education for students at the BSN and MSN level.
Methods: The informatics courses are 3-credit hour courses that incorporate exams and project-based learning for student assessment. Classroom activities for student learning include projects related to 1) information literacy, 2) use of data and information in a spreadsheet, 3) quality analysis, and 4) technology usability. Each project builds student’s skills to support subsequent project completion. Pedagogy includes both online, synchronous, and asynchronous approaches. In the undergraduate course, students have a choice of taking an online or a classroom class.
Evaluation/results: Assessment of student learning used a mixed methods approach. Exams assess student learning in the undergraduate program and projects with rubrics provide a quantitative measure of student learning. Grading rubrics also allow for qualitative assessment of student learning. In addition, students complete a review of the course using quantitate and qualitative measurements.
Implications: The projects used in this course are innovative and will provide ideas for competency-based education using new AACN Essentials competencies. As education continues to prepare students for using informatics and technologies competencies for their future practice, practicing nurse informaticists will become familiar with required competency education. As a result, onboarding of new graduates will be enhanced and MSN graduates will be equipped to gather data, form information for decision-making, and support professionals as they expand knowledge and wisdom for practice.