With the closures of universities and colleges due to the spread of COVID-19, life is unlike it’s ever been for students and nurse educators. While some classes are held online anyway, there are many that take place in person.
Julie K. Stegman, Vice President, Nursing Segment at Wolters Kluwer, Health Learning, Research & Practice, took time to answer our questions about what you can do to continue learning or teaching during this time.
of colleges and universities have closed or are closing. Nursing students may
be looking for ways to study while at home. Until their professors/instructors
begin offering online classes, what should they do?
This is an incredibly challenging time. Nursing students face mitigating circumstances for completing their clinical hours, and nurse educators are pivoting to a fully online teaching format that many are not accustomed to. From discussions with nurse educators, we know they are facing challenges with the typical steadfastness and resilience we see from nurses daily.
Nurse educators are keeping their students engaged virtually
by suggesting independent learning activities, such as reading their textbooks
and taking advantage of online videos and interactive exercises. They’re also
making students aware of educational webinars offered by organizations like ours
on key topics such as clinical judgement.
We are also reminding nurse instructors of the tools
and resources they have at their disposal and can make available to their
students virtually. Our Lippincott CoursePoint+ solution for example is an
online program that offers students a lot of opportunity for self-learning,
including applied learning and assessment as well as virtual simulation activities
that mirror real-world practice.
can they determine which websites are providing accurate information or not?
Nursing education has a variety of legitimate sources
for accurate information. In fact, one of the hallmarks of nursing education is
using the latest evidence in making decisions about a patient’s care.
Because of that nursing students typically don’t run into trouble identifying
reputable and authoritative sources of data and information.
Nurse educators are also represented by premiere associations like the National League for Nursing, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing that are proactively helping instructors guide students toward the latest information. The nursing profession is also represented by premiere associations (including Wolters Kluwer) and publications like AJN: The American Journal of Nursing.
there ways that they can study together online? Should they set up private
Facebook groups with other students they may already be in study groups with?
Are there better ways of doing this? Please explain.
Many nursing schools use learning management systems which provide an opportunity for them to create a forum for discussion topics as well as opportunities to connect students with one another. Because this is all done virtually, it’s one of the best ways students can stay connected and engaged at home.
instructors/professors: what kind of tools can they access online or through
other technology that will allow them to keep teaching? Until they can, what
should they do?
learning has been embraced in nursing education for some time and has had a
positive impact on preparing students for real-world practice. In fact, Lippincott
CoursePoint was the first-to-market integrated, digital nursing education
solution back in 2013 and continues to deliver the industry’s most trusted
content and resources, including case studies and real-time data. Fortunately,
many nursing instructors and professors are familiar with these digital education
tools and it’s been a shorter learning curve.
powerful digital tools and insights allow nursing instructors to adapt their
approach on the fly to meet students’ needs, even if those students are at home.
is so unlike anything any of us have experienced before. Is there anything regarding
what nursing students and nurse educators can do while schools are closed that
is important for our readers to know?
At Wolters Kluwer, we are committed to our nurse educators and supporting them in these challenging times. We have and are continuing to provide resources for our educators for transitioning to online learning including free webinar training, as well as recorded webinars, blog posts and white papers on our Lippincott Nursing Education website. We are also maintaining an information resource about the latest guidance for nurses in practice at Lippincott NursingCenter.com.
Nobody looks forward to applying for financial aid, but for
post-secondary school students it’s almost as unavoidable as death and taxes. Did
you fill out your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form back in
undergrad school? If you’re planning to apply for aid in obtaining your
graduate degree, get ready to revisit the financial aid grind!
It can get complicated. Certified College Planning Specialists Carl Buck and Rick Darvis, authors of Pay for Your Graduate Nursing Education Without Going Broke, advise that “no graduate nursing school will necessarily replicate the same financial aid application, nor will funding or financial aid award letters be the same.” So, keep track of the requirements at the institutions where you’re applying.
Recent Changes to FAFSA Requirements
Over the past few years, some changes have been made in the FAFSA financial aid process. For instance, tax information used to be required for the previous full tax year—but now, you must provide information from your prior, prior tax year (for instance, on the current 2020-21 FAFSA form, you should enter your tax information from 2018). Also, keep in mind that the FAFSA submission start date is now October 1 (the 2020-21 form opened on October 1, 2019; the deadline is June 30, 2021). The sooner you file, the more grant money you are likely to receive, so file sooner rather than later!
Confirm whether you are considered dependent or independent. As a grad student you are probably now no longer a dependent of your parents or guardians. In this case, you will only be reporting your own tax information, not your family’s. However, there can be exceptions to this rule. In some grad programs, for financial aid purposes, students who are under 30 are still classified as dependents (whether or not you are in fact independent). Be sure you know whether a program you’re applying to has such a requirement; if it does, you still need to supply your parents’ tax information.
How Does the FAFSA Compute Your Financial Needs?
The Federal financial aid process calculates your expected annual
family contribution. This is based on the assets held by you (and if married,
your spouse) and/or your family—such as money in savings, checking, stocks, CDs
real estate (excluding your own home)—and annual earnings. From your total in
assets and adjusted gross income, the FAFSA calculates how much you (or your
family) can contribute toward your schooling costs. This Expected Family Contribution
(EFC) is subtracted from the cost of your attendance.
Important note: as Peterson’s points out, if you or your parents filed or were eligible to file tax form 1040EZ or 1040A, however, the FAFSA will only calculate financial need based on adjusted income.
Free Webinar on Financing for Nursing Grad School
You can attend an upcoming webinar on how to manage financing for nursing graduate school. Hosted by Certified College Planning Specialist Carl Buck, author of Pay for Your Graduate Nursing Education Without Going Broke, the topics covered will include: case studies based on real nurses’ successful creative financing strategies, how to negotiate your own financial aid package, new nursing scholarships, and how to benefit from tax incentives.
To register, click on one of the below dates and times:
at 2PM EST
March 3, at 1PM EST
Nursing student retention is a major question at nursing school programs across the US. What factors help a student stay in or drop out of a program, and how can you stay on the winning side of the retention statistics?
The Surge in Nontraditional Nursing Students
If you’re not coming to nursing school straight out of high
school, join the club! The nursing student body is attracting a growing number
of what are referred to as “nontraditional students.” According to Marianne R.
Jeffreys, author of Nursing Student Retention: Understanding the Process and
Making a Difference, nontraditional students tend to fall into one or more
of the following categories:
- Age 25 years of age or older
- First-generation college students
- Attend school on a part-time basis
- Members of ethnic or racial minority group
- Speak English as a second language
- Have dependent children
- Have a GED
- Commutes to campus
- Changing to nursing from a former career
- Taking remedial, refresher, or update courses
- Male students
Despite the need for nurses from varied backgrounds to treat an increasingly diverse patient population, nontraditional students face a number of challenges. Quite often, a nontraditional student is driven to drop out owing to time and/or financial constraints, family/childcare responsibilities, work commitments, and other conflicts that interfere with their ability to fulfill course work requirements and achieve academic success.
However, there are a variety of options available to students in such situations. Many programs seek to reactivate lapsed students by offering tuition waivers and make use of special grants to increase student retention and head off the drop-out process. Look for a school that is making use of such grants to create peer-mentoring networks, test prep workshops, and other special activities—measures that have been proven to enhance your experience and increase your chances of success in the program. Taking advantage of these opportunities can help you to meet the challenges of your course-load, reduce stress, give you greater confidence, and increase your chances of passing the NCLEX.
Get the Support You Need—and Deserve
If you are a nontraditional student, keep in mind that your background and situation make you very attractive to the nursing profession! Nontraditional students are in great demand at all levels of nursing education; with your background and abilities you can make a unique and vital contribution.
According to a recent CUNY study, “support by faculty, friends, and family was the key determinant of first semester nursing students’ ability to remain in the nursing course.” Keeping this in mind, take confidence in your value to the profession, don’t be shy, and put yourself out there:
- Make an effort to ask questions in classes and go to faculty for help: it is always better to ask a question than to leave it unasked! If there is something you don’t understand, speak up in class—and if you have more questions than can be managed during a lesson, schedule time to meet with your instructors for help after class.
- Worried about financing your degree? Talk to your financial aid advisor to apply and negotiate for student loans—they’re not just for recent high-school grads. And, if you’re in a BSN program, don’t forget that a nurse externship enables you to collect a salary while gaining hands-on experience with patients—and will also hone your competitive edge in the job market.
- If your school offers a peer mentoring program, take advantage of it. According to the journal Nursing 2020, “students who are peer mentored have better rates of retention and are more successful.” Connecting with a peer mentor can help you to master a challenging course, develop better study habits, bring you closer to your classmates, and increase your self-confidence—all of which can lead to a higher GPA and NCLEX score!
- Make the most of your school’s academic support services. Keep in mind: regular meetings with your faculty advisor can make an enormous difference—for instance, did you know that counseled students have higher retention rates than non-counseled students?
Pursue Success in Your Classes
Nursing is a demanding, rigorous
discipline, but those demands can be met. Here are some basic steps you
can take toward success in obtaining your degree and license:
- Practice self-efficacy: Self-efficacy
reflects confidence in the ability to exert control over one’s own motivation,
behavior, and social environment. Stanford University’s Albert Bandura says of self-efficacy,
“After people become convinced they have what it takes to succeed, they
persevere in the face of adversity and quickly rebound from setbacks. By
sticking it out through tough times, they emerge stronger from adversity.” Push
negative thoughts out of your head and motivate yourself to succeed; form
targets and commit to meeting them; be persistent—approach hardships and
setbacks as challenges to be overcome with increased energy and efforts.
- Double down on your studying skills (check out
the University of North Carolina’s helpful guide, Study
Smarter Not Harder). Did you know that time management, organizing, and
planning are better indicators of academic success than your total number of
study hours? Using your time effectively is the key.
- Attendance is vital.
Did you know that your nursing program’s attendance policies may be stricter
than the policy of your parent institution? You also need to take into
consideration that in a nursing program, in addition to your classroom hours, attendance
requirements also include specific nursing course components such as skills
laboratory and/or clinical hours.
while you attend class and read your textbooks and notes is also essential: how
involved are you during class and when reading? Speaking of notes, have you
developed good note-taking skills? Did you know that most studies indicate
it is more effective to take notes by hand instead
of using a laptop?
- If you have outside obligations that are making
it hard for you to focus, talk to a peer mentor or a faculty advisor—sooner
rather than later—about adjustments you can make that will help you to
concentrate and remain alert.
How Family, Children, and Work Affect Student Retention
remarks, “People have lives that constitute more than nursing school. The
reality is that environmental factors can influence student retention,
persistence, and success more than academic factors.” When it comes to academic
success, personal “environment” plays a key role in student retention. For
example, are you living with family or raising children? Working a full- or
part-time job? Do you have a long commute to and from school? For the
traditional student, college adjustment and social integration into the college
residential life-environment play a substantial role in academic success. For
the nontraditional student, “environment” is largely composed of off-campus
life: where you live (and with whom), the financial constraints you live under,
family/work obligations, transportation issues, and other factors that affect
your life both on- and off-campus.
One hurdle to look out for is the late-semester crunch. Studies have found that the challenges a nontraditional student faces on a day-to-day basis can be lighter or heavier depending on the time of year. Earlier in the semester, for instance, family, relationship, and work responsibilities can exert a moderate, but manageable pressure on the demands of school. Later in a semester, though—for example, when exams are pending—those same responsibilities can feel a lot more burdensome. This is a good time to seek out faculty and peer mentor guidance for help managing time and juggling the various “hats” you wear while fulfilling responsibilities at home, work, and school.
And what about children?
An increasing number of students have dependent children; how do they manage?
Research has shown that even single parents are more resilient than might be
expected. In one study, almost 60% of students with children reported that they
found child care to be supportive of their goals and aspirations in nursing,
while others stated that their child-care arrangements did not influence course
retention at all. As Jeffreys adds, “notably, all of these students remained in
nursing courses throughout the semester and successfully passed the course.”
Working while attending school is becoming a fact of life for both traditional and nontraditional students. Even traditional students now often work 30 hours a week or more. And, once again, the perceived impact of employment responsibilities on schooling can be subject to that late-semester crunch. What may seem manageable earlier in the semester can start to feel increasingly restrictive later on. When setting your hours of employment, also keep in mind that the number of hours you work can have a significant impact on academic achievement and student retention: a 40-hour work week can make school substantially harder than a 30-hour work week. Plan out your budget, and don’t take on more hours than you absolutely need.
The Role of Encouragement and Emotional Support
Families can offer forms
of support that can compensate for lack of financial wherewithal. Emotional
support and expressions of pride and encouragement regarding your educational
and career goals can make all of the hardships worthwhile. In her book,
Marianne Jeffreys cites a study of over 1100 culturally and generationally
diverse undergraduate commuter nursing students that showed family emotional
support was one of the most powerful influences on their ability to remain in a
nursing course. If you feel that your family or significant other could be more
supportive of your efforts, supplement your own inner resources by talking to
your advisor or peer mentor. And remember your friends: the support of good friends
can give you a boost during crucial moments.
As nursing schools are becoming increasingly reliant on nontraditional students, the issues such students face are attracting ever more attention from administrators and faculty. In addition to the student retention measures already in place, programs will continue to seek out ways to attract—and retain—nontraditional students and support them in their progress toward their degrees. And, whether you are a nontraditional or a traditional student, make your voice heard! Talk to faculty, administrators, and peer mentors to contribute your own suggestions about ways to pave the path to success to graduation.
Nursing students’ education should never occur in a vacuum. Because most nurses will work not only with patients throughout their careers, but also with varied health care professionals, it’s important for them to learn how to work with others even before they begin their employment. This is where interprofessional education comes into play.
In Part 2 of our interview, Judith Haber and Erin Hartnett of NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing continue our conversation about why it’s so important for nursing students. (Revisit Part 1 of our interview here.)
This year, the study was on oral-systemic health. But
have the students studied other health care issues in previous years? Why or
why not? How are the issues chosen?
Judi Haber: NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and
the OHNEP and TOSH programs have been at the vanguard of changing the national
landscape about the importance of integrating oral health as an essential
component of overall health. This priority addressed a national “Call to
Action” by the Surgeon General in 2000 to address the gap in meeting the oral
health care needs of the American public and to consider the relationship of
oral health to overall health. Our programs have made a significant impact by
“putting the mouth back in the head” in nursing education and clinical
Oral health and its links to overall health is our OHNEP
and TOSH priority. Because of the
connections between oral health and numerous systemic health conditions like
diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, kidney disease, cancer, dementia,
autoimmune conditions, and others, students are exposed to a wide variety of
acute and chronic health problems. This provides a perfect platform to for
interprofessional learning because it requires the clinical knowledge and
expertise of multiple professions to create a care plan that is
patient-centered and addresses the needs of the whole person. We have designed
and implemented interprofessional clinical experiences across the lifespan that
address the oral-systemic needs of each population: prenatal, pediatric, adult,
and older adult.
What were the results from this interprofessional
Judi Haber: We evaluate our interprofessional experiences using the Interprofessional Competencies Attainment Scale (ICCAS) before and after each experience. Our evidence shows a significant change in student self-reported interprofessional competencies from pre- to post-test across the professions.
What did the nurses learn from working with students in other
Haber and Hartnett: Students from all four disciplines — Nursing, Medicine, Dentistry, and Pharmacy — felt that TOSH was a positive experience as evidenced from some of their comments.
“It was mostly actually us teaching each other. The facilitator was there if we had any questions, but she kind of popped in and out and just sort of listened, and let us sort of take the reins which was good.”
— Shoshana Gindi, NYU Adult-Geriatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Student
“Usually at Long Island University, we’re with pharmacy students only, so this allowed us to basically see other professions and their points of views when it comes to assessing patients.”
— Nada Annr, LIU Pharmacy Student
“It was kind of cool to see the role reversal when we got to the part where we were talking about the patient management because we got to learn more about the medications, the medical conditions, how those are managed, and kind of what their focus was versus ours and how those come together.”
— Charlotte Guerrera, NYU Dental Student
“It’s good to really get another perspective from other specialties. The dentists will specifically ask about oral questions; a medical student will ask complete body questions. We can learn how to approach patients in a broader way.”
— Brandon Oks, NYU Medical Student
“More and more in today’s world, we’re working with the other disciplines in the health care setting. We’re also learning the background of other people’s specialties: what their schooling looks like and what their clinical work looks like. I think that really helps, especially in the nursing field and nurse practitioners making a name for themselves. I think it helps to kind of normalize the battlefield in a sense and give everybody an understanding of what our education looks like.”
— RoseMarie Cafone, NYU Psych-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Student
“I have sort of a general idea of what the different professions do, but I really didn’t have any sort of deeper understanding of everything that they bring to the table. I think when we were interviewing the patient, just hearing the kinds of questions that they were asking–what they were focused on–was really helpful in understanding how they’re approaching a patient. And then we were all sitting around a table hearing what they were most concerned about really illustrated for me what each profession is really bringing to that conversation.”
— Elana Kreiger-Benson, NYU Medical Student
“We talked about, ‘Would this be valuable in the real world?’ And we all agreed, yes, because especially today in our world with health care changing, it’s even harder to communicate, and communication’s a big problem. Hopefully there’s more trainings like this to help give better communication among all the different health care professions.”
— Stephanie Fanelli, NYU Dental Student
“I don’t usually get to interact with dentistry students, so that part was amazing. Being able to see how a dentistry student or a pharmacist would be able to approach an issue with the patient’s mouth was helpful, and being able to make a plan for this patient and create an interdisciplinary team approach to caring for this patient was great.”
— Megan Fendt, NYU Midwifery Student
“A couple more of these a year would be beneficial.”
— Brandon Oks, NYU Medical Student
What else is important for our readers to know about
Erin Hartnett: The Oral Health Nursing Education and Practice Program (OHNEP), an innovative national initiative led by Executive Director Judith Haber, and Program Director Erin Hartnett has just been designated as a 2019 Edge Runner from the American Academy of Nursing. This initiative recognizes those individuals and organizations who are leaders in designing models of care and interventions to improve health care cost and access. OHNEP [received] this award on October 24, 2019, for its leadership in “putting the mouth back in the head” in nursing education and clinical practice, improving clinical outcomes, and making positive contributions to the financial health of organizations.
NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing has been offering interprofessional education experiences for its nursing students since 2006. To explain how it works and why it’s essential for nursing education, we interviewed Judith Haber, PhD, APRN, FAAN, the Ursula Springer Leadership Professor in Nursing and Executive Director of the Oral Health Nursing Education and Practice (OHNEP) Program at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing, and Erin Hartnett, DNP, PPCNP-BC, CPNP, the Program Director of OHNEP and Teaching Oral-Systemic Health (TOSH) Programs at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing.
Haber and Hartnett took time to answer our questions. What follows is Part 1 of our interview. Keep on the lookout for Part 2 next week.
Why do you offer interprofessional education for nursing
students? Why is it important?
Judi Haber: These experiences are an important component
of the education of all students in the health professions. Historically,
health education in the United States has been delivered in well-established
silos. Yet patients come to primary and acute care health care settings with
health problems that cross the boundaries of those disciplines. Student
exposure to interprofessional education (IPE) experiences are designed to break
down the traditional professional silos and prepare students to practice in
teams that understand each other’s roles and responsibilities, value and
respect the contributions of all team members, and communicate and function
effectively on interprofessional health care teams. That is the health system
model of the present and future!
Professional practice silos also have been documented in a series of reports by the Institute of Medicine (2001; 2003) to have a negative impact on the quality and safety of patient care. Fostering interdisciplinary team building and collaborative practice was proposed to improve patient outcomes; a call to action challenged faculty educating students in the health professions to educate them interprofessionally as members of collaborative teams who “learned from, with, and about each other.” Publication of the Interprofessional Education Competencies (IPEC) in 2011 propelled this interprofessional education agenda and soon accreditation standards for nursing, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and other professions required evidence that students were being exposed to interprofessional education experiences.
Essentially, these interprofessional education experiences are preparing students to “hit the ground running,” prepared to practice in high-performing teams following graduation.
What other students work with them? At what schools
are they studying?
Judi Haber: The NYU interprofessional education
experiences have always had a clinical focus and have always included dental
and medical students and, more recently, pharmacy students.
What happens during this three-day study? How does it
Erin Hartnett: The
TOSH–Teaching Oral Systemic Health event has been held every September for the
past seven years. In 2013, we started with about 300 students from three
schools–NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing, NYU College of Dentistry, and NYU
School of Medicine–and in 2019, our seventh year, we have almost 800 students
from four schools–NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing, NYU College of
Dentistry, NYU School of Medicine, and Long Island University (LIU) Pharmacy.
TOSH brings together students from different health
professions to participate in an interprofessional oral health simulation with
a Standardized Patient and a case study discussion experience to learn from,
with, and about each other. The goals of this experience are for the student to
learn about oral health, specifically the oral health connection, and the oral
exam; as well as to learn to work together as a team using the interprofessional
educational competencies (IPEC competencies) to learn each other’s roles and
responsibilities, values, and ethics and to learn to communicate and
collaborate as a team for the good of the patient–to provide better, safer,
more cost effective health care
Prior to the TOSH experience, all of the students are required to complete an assignment, which includes: two Smiles for Life Modules, read about the IPEC competencies, watch a video on the TeamSTEPPS® SBAR communication techniques, and read an article about prescribing for acute dental pain (Clark et al, 2010; Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality).
When students arrive at the Simulation Center, they take
the Interprofessional Collaborative Competency Attainment Survey (ICCAS) on
their phone (MacDonald, Archibald, Trumpower, Casimiro, Cragg, & Jelly,
2018). The ICCAS measures their interprofessional competencies prior to the
experience. Students are then assigned to a team consisting of a nurse
practitioner, midwifery, medical, dental, and pharmacy student. They work together as a team obtaining a
focused history from the Standardized Patient– which should lead them to
suspect Type 2 Diabetes, periodontal disease, and acute dental pain.
The dental student then demonstrates the oral exam on the
Standardized Patient to the other students, and each student is then required
to practice the oral exam on the Standardized Patient with the dental student
The teams then all move to a case study discussion room
where they meet with another team. The students introduce themselves to the
other team and then each profession pairs with the member of their profession
to develop a problem list. After completing the problem list, both groups meet
back together to develop a care plan, which incorporates each profession.
Students then role-play calling each other on the phone
using the TeamSTEPPS® SBAR technique to explain the Situation,
Background, Assessment, and Recommendations for this patient.
At the end of the experience the students debrief with
their facilitator on how the IPEC competencies were met.
Is participation required for nursing students or
voluntary? Do the nursing students need to be in a particular semester in order
Erin Hartnett: All second-year NP and Midwifery students,
fourth-year dental students, second-year medical students, and fourth-year pharmacy
students are required to attend.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — An anonymous Penn State donor couple has made a gift of $5 million to endow a scholarship for students with financial need in the College of Nursing. This is the largest single gift the college has received in its six-year history. In addition, the University is matching the gift 1:1, bringing the scholarship endowment total to $10 million. Students from western Pennsylvania and rural regions of the commonwealth will be given first preference for the awards.
“The College of Nursing’s potential for impact on the health of communities across the commonwealth is vast, and these donors have recognized that potential through this remarkable gift,” said Penn State President Eric J. Barron. “Their support will help to address the commonwealth’s pressing need for health care professionals and allow recipients to forge meaningful careers in nursing, transforming their own lives. We’re very grateful for this generous gift.”
College of Nursing undergraduates who must meet the cost of a Penn State degree with loans graduate, on average, with an educational debt of more than $42,500. Recipients of the scholarship, however, will receive annual awards of up to $10,000. This will significantly reduce their debt and allow them more latitude to choose jobs in high-need but lower-paid geographic areas and medical fields that present the most urgent need for nurses.
“The extraordinary couple who made this gift have been impressed by the excellence of Penn State’s nursing programs,” said Laurie Badzek, dean and professor of the College of Nursing. “In particular, they appreciate our work to prepare a generation of nurses with a solid grounding in geriatrics and community health.”
“Nursing is a discipline that touches everyone’s life at some point, and these generous donors are helping to ensure better care across the commonwealth,” said Susan Kukic, director of development and alumni relations for the college. “While they have chosen to remain anonymous, they are important role models whose vision for the future of our students and our college will, I hope, inspire others to consider how they can support excellence in nursing and nursing education.”
For information on this scholarship and the nursing program at Penn State, visit here.