Background/significance: Nursing informatics (NI) education focuses on the use of health information technologies, innovations, and data to support the quadruple aim. Recognizing the importance of nurses’ informatics competency to achieve this goal, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) mandates informatics and health IT competencies for all levels of nursing education. From the NI specialty perspective, it is important to clearly differentiate the education and training needs in two different levels of nursing informatics: general and specialty level. Provision of experiential learning opportunities to students in both tracks are clinical in competency-based education, and experiential learning occurs in the practice setting. Despite a plethora of preceptor models and support from academic settings, there have been scarce resources available for NI preceptors. Despite the rapidly growing needs for experiential learning in the NI field, there has been a lack of literature on the best practice and/or models that can support practicing informaticians who train nursing students.
Aim: The aim of the presentation is to describe the collaboration between the clinical informatics department of a large academic medical system and a school of nursing’s informatics specialty program to establish a nursing informatics training model (NITM) and present lessons learned.
Method: The project was guided by the plan-do-study-act framework. At the beginning of the project (plan), informatics leaders established a team and developed a project plan to improve the student/preceptor experience. In recurring meetings, the team determined specific policies/procedures for onboarding timelines for students, course requirements, and preceptor requirements and expectations. The team also developed tools, such as student intake form via Smart sheet. In the next step (do), the team collected baseline data using a survey for past preceptors (N=33). The survey consisted of eight questions on prior preceptor experience, satisfaction, and time commitment using multiple choice and open-ended questions (12-day response time). A total of 14 responded, and the data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. Based on the preliminary data, the procedures and forms were refined. We implemented informatics specific modules with 26 preceptors and 26 students. Additionally, preceptor support was enhanced by establishing regular communication with informatics leaders. In January 2022, the training program using NITM was initiated for the first cohort (study). Outcome data on preceptor and student experience was collected and analyzed for the first cohort in June 2022 and for the second cohort in November 2022.
Findings: Prior to implementing the NITM, 67% of preceptors spent more than 60 minutes preparing for students. A 35% reduction post-implementation was noted, with only 32% of preceptors spending more than 60 minutes to prepare. In pre-implementation surveys, 79% of preceptors cited a need for more structure and support around their role as a preceptor. After the NITM was implemented, 95% of preceptors stated they were better prepared for their role as preceptor. Our results also show a more engaged preceptor team. Pre-implementation survey response rate was 42% compared to 73% response rate post-implementation.
After completing this learning activity, the participant will be able to assess innovations being used by other professionals in the specialty and evaluate the potential of implementing the improvements into practice.