Top Nursing Program Tackles Shortage of Nurses with New Technology

For sixteen years running, nursing has ranked as the top most trusted and most ethical profession in Gallup polls. Americans trust their nurses—and it’s really no wonder why.

In the medical profession, nurses are the professional gatekeepers of life and death. They’re the ones in the trenches caring for babies, staffing hospitals, and keeping the elderly comfortable at the end of their lives. And nursing skills have proven to be a significant factor of patient survival.

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The Stakes of Nursing

Nurses with higher education levels—and specifically with bachelor’s degrees—have lower patient mortality rates and lower rates of failure to rescue. In fact, 10 percent more nurses with bachelor’s degrees on a staff can decrease deaths and failures by roughly 4 percent, regardless of environment quality.

Bumbach UF Nursing EducationNo one is more aware of these trend than the instructors in charge of training our future nurses. One of these faculty members is Dr. Michael D. Bumbach, a nurse practitioner at the Archer Community Health Center and an assistant clinical professor in the University of Florida’s College of Nursing.

Nursing education faculty like Dr. Bumbach are dedicated to helping students learn, grow, and become board-certified as critical preparation for saving lives out in the field. The trouble is that the number of new nurses entering the field is shrinking.

The National Nursing Shortage in the U.S.

Statistically speaking, the United States will need more nurses than ever in a few short years—and our nursing pool is drying up. Why? Because our medical landscape is changing at an alarming speed.

Our general population is aging. Beyond that, our nurses are aging too. Nearly 40 percent of registered nurses will be 50 years or older within the next 10 years, and the number of new nurses under 30 is decreasing rapidly.

Did you know the average age of a working nurse is 50 years old? Our nurses are aging. Click To Tweet

Nursing education programs are fighting to meet the rising demand for quality nursing professionals. Institutions around the country are working hard to recruit more nurses, train them properly, and truly prepare them for successful nursing careers.

One such program is the College of Nursing at the University of Florida (UF).

Nursing in the Sunshine State

Located in Gainesville, the University of Florida has been educating nurses since 1956. UF is one of six colleges that make up the UF Health Science Center (HSC), and the UF College of Nursing consistently ranks in the top ten percent of nursing schools in the nation.

Perhaps the biggest reason UF excels is thanks to its experienced and dedicated faculty. In his position, Dr. Bumbach has an up-close and personal view of UF’s nursing education program.

Every aspect of the college aims to produce qualified, intelligent, and strong nurses, but that doesn’t mean UF doesn’t face obstacles.

Nursing Education

Challenges at the University of Florida

For students to become licensed registered nurses, they must pass the NCLEX exam. The goal is to teach strong nursing skills and correct practices so students are ready when the NCLEX rolls around.

The foundation of all nursing skills is assessing the health of a patient. But to teach students how to conduct a health assessment, faculty members must give each student hands-on experience. To get that experience they need patients to work on.

To teach students how to conduct a health assessment, faculty members must give each student hands-on experience. Click To Tweet

Dr. Bumbach is the first to admit this isn’t an easy task, so he decided to train his students to perform health assessments on each other. The first 60 students do an evaluation of their cohort, and the other 60 do vice versa so everyone has a patient. But even this solution for patient access wasn’t enough.

To truly develop their skills, each nursing student needs individual feedback from their professor. The peer evaluations helped get students started, but it didn’t give Bumbach any more time to observe his students and share detailed critique of their work.

The Power of Feedback

With such large classes, professors like Dr. Bumbach struggle to find the time and energy to make sure every single student is on track.

Bumbach was concerned that his students weren’t getting the face-to-face interactions and individual feedback they needed:

We’ve seen a big trend of people moving nursing instruction online to train more students, but then you miss out on the face to face. It’s hard to read body language over Skype, over phone, or whatever.

Early on Bumbach wondered if video projects were the answer. Could students film themselves doing health assessments so he could observe and give feedback that way? It was worth a try.

As an experiment, Bumbach created a video assignment for his class and had them use UF’s educational platform, Canvas, to submit the videos. But Canvas video sharing proved to be both clunky and frustrating. There wasn’t a great way of evaluating the videos, but he refused to give up. Instead of throwing in the towel, Bumbach started hunting for the perfect technology solution.

Looking for a Canvas-Compatible Tool

In his search for the best video tool, Dr. Bumbach teamed up with James Kocher, the instructional designer for the College of Nursing. Kocher went to EduAppCenter and saw the video product GoReact. Its upload sizes were bigger and there was built-in time-stamping, comments, and other feedback tools.

Best of all, GoReact was already at UF. The Business School had had success with the platform, so transferring it to the College of Nursing Education wasn’t difficult.

Making Video Assessment a Reality

So the pilot began. Dr. Bumbach introduced GoReact to his students and had them conduct a health assessment on camera. They submitted the videos directly to him for critique.

Almost immediately he recognized the time-saving difference the product made. Instead of scheduling 60 hours in the lab, Bumbach had the ability to view all the assessments anywhere and at any time.

With video, professors can grade on their own time. Click To Tweet

Kocher has also noticed what a big difference GoReact makes for professors, not just in nursing but in many different disciplines. “Students can record themselves doing their skill, and the instructor doesn’t have to be there right away. They can, on their own time, go grade and give better feedback. Students can also control what the professor sees because they can record a segment over and over until it’s right. It gives them a chance to practice more. It really is the best product.”

Nursing Education

GoReact Nursing Education Solutions

Here’s just a sampling of the ways GoReact has helped the UF College of Nursing:

LMS Integration

The software integrates seamlessly with most university LMS systems. University of Florida is an enthusiastic Canvas user. Understandably, professors want to function in the environment they’re used to, and GoReact allows that.

Video File Sizes

Large files were the biggest obstacle for using video in the nursing education program. Now that issue has been virtually eliminated. Students film themselves, save their videos, and submit them all within GoReact. Every video submission is compressed automatically and goes directly to their professor.

Simple Equipment

Instead of expensive, complicated camcorders, nursing students can film themselves with their own smartphones and laptops. UF almost never has technical difficulties with GoReact, and students can easily pause, clip, or re-film an entire segment.

Better and More Frequent Practice

Best of all, the nursing students are getting more practice and better instructor feedback than ever. This has helped Dr. Bumbach train his students faster and with greater precision.

Saving time for faculty

In Dr. Bumbach’s words, “Because we have a faculty shortage, GoReact has really allowed me to maximize my time. If I’m on the bus for 20 minutes, I can do my work then. It saves me literally days of time.”

Proven Improvement

For Bumbach, discovering GoReact and using it in innovative ways has changed the entire structure of his class.

The time-coded comments he makes on videos are more or less the same ones he would make in real life. The difference is that these notes are at the exact point in the video he’s referencing. It requires less work for students to understand his comments and less time for him to give them.

Dr. Bumbach already knew GoReact was making his life easier; now the question was if it was making a statistical difference in his program. The software felt like a good solution, but did the data back up Bumbach’s gut feeling?

I surveyed our students, and I looked at how prepared they were after the health assessment video. The survey results all came back pretty strong. The process itself helps students learn.

Bumbach has been surprised multiple times at just how much his students liked GoReact too. In fact, they went out of their way to tell him even after the semester was over.

“So you know when the semester is done, basically students owe you nothing? But people actually came to my office, saw me sitting there, and said, ‘Listen man, I just want to tell you how good that final project was.’ So I had some really good anecdotal evidence.”

GoReact Nursing Education

Researching GoReact

The favorable results from the survey and his students have prompted Dr. Bumbach to explore the reach and results of video feedback in the nursing education field. Although his research is still coming together, so far everything he’s found has come back positive. He looks forward to publishing and presenting his research at conferences since he knows he’s found a ground-breaking tool for nursing education.

As he puts it, “We’ve got an innovative method that may really help strengthen nursing faculty because of the nursing faculty shortage. The constraints that we have associated with patients and patient care, I think that this has a lot of potential to turn that around in nursing education and make online nursing education better.”

Michael Bumbach believes UF has an innovative method that may strengthen nursing faculty. Click To Tweet

Whether it’s greater reach at the University of Florida or deeper penetration in the College of Nursing, both Bumbach and Kocher plan to share GoReact again and again without reservation. When asked to sum up his overall feelings about GoReact, Bumbach expressed, “This is such a good product. The data is so strong that you guys have something great.”

Want to better prepare your nursing students? Download our head-to-toe assessment checklist that highlights the most regularly performed skills in an entry-level practice.

Head-to-Toe Assessment Download

Sources
Walker. “Nurses Ranked #1 Most Ethical Profession By 2017 Gallup Poll.” Nurse.org
Kutney-Lee, Sloane, Aiken. “An Increase In The Number Of Nurses With Baccalaureate Degrees Is Linked To Lower Rates Of Postsurgery Mortality.” Health Affairs.
Aiken, et al. “Educational Levels of Hospital Nurses and Surgical Patient Mortality.” JAMA.
Facts on the Nursing Shortage in North America.” Sigma.
College Points of Pride.” University of Florida Health.

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