Establishment Web Based Courses In Nursing Education

Nurses Educator 2

Nursing Education and Establishment  Web Based Courses

Establishment  Web Based Courses In Nursing Education

Increase Financial Resources, Tuition Fee and Credit Hours,Improve Student Retention,Establish a Research Agenda,Develop Faculty Practice,Integration of Practice and Research.

    In 2000, all courses were developed in paper format and placed into paper modules and emailed to students. Although e-mail and forums were used extensively, the courses themselves were not available on the Web. The goal was to develop all courses in a format that facilitated web based delivery from a user friendly website. 

    The design team was recruited; Heather East, BA, was appointed multimedia director; and the process began.Develop, evaluate, and improve the use of technology to support teaching and learning

    Today all courses are delivered through a central web portal. In addition, these are supported by a rich interactive communication system. Every course has its own discussion forum. Faculty members use many different modalities in their teaching, including verbal course introductions, online chats, PowerPoint presentations, mini tests, and games. Most assignments are received through e-mail attachments, allowing efficient turnaround time to students. 

    News, activities, calendars, and group activities are communicated electronically. The Web site communication system has become a successful online community that exchanges more than 2,000 messages per day. All of these modalities are available to students, faculty, and staff 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (The public site can be accessed at The Web portal is password protected and available only to members of the FSMFN community. 

Increase Financial Resources, Tuition Fee and Credit Hours

    The school is primarily funded through tuition and fees. Students pay $350/credit hour if full-time and $375 credit/hour if part-time. The program credits are as follows:

MSN-CNEP track: 66 credits

CNEP certificate: 60 credits

MSN-CFNP track: 57 credits

CFNP post-master's certificate: 51 credits

    Eighteen percent of all school expenses are funded through the Front tier Nursing Service Foundation. A very effective fund-raising campaign held in the 1980s provided a sizable fund designated for the school, called the Nurse Education Enrichment Drive (NEED), which continues to provide substantial support. This allows the school to maintain an affordable tuition rate. 

    The FNS Foundation also manages 10 different scholarship funds, which provide annual scholarships for students who meet the criteria and apply. In addition, the school has received support from the HRSA Division of Nursing Nurse Training Program for the past 10 years. Efforts are focused on continuing to build the NEED and scholarship funds. Plans are in place to hire a dedicated development officer to assist in these efforts.

Improve Student Retention 

    Attrition was identified as an area of concern in the year 2000. In 2001, the attrition rate hit an all time high of 23%. The faculty and staff came together to develop an action plan to address this issue. Students participated in the planning. The student advisor role was completely reorganized. 

    Students activated the Mi Amiga (my friend) student support system. Faculty were gradually transitioned from primarily part time positions to primarily full time positions, including responsibilities for student advising. This provided more time to attend to the needs of students. 

    A faculty “Mom” program was started where each student had a faculty “Mom” they would connect to during the on site orientation. This was eventually replaced by having an assigned faculty advisor who had responsibility for a specialty track class of students. Each class has its own online forum and the faculty advisor monitors and participates in the forum. 

    A parttime option was implemented that allows the students to complete the program in 3 years instead of 2. Above all, the faculty and staff worked very hard to develop a culture of caring. The message that faculty, administration, and support staff are there to assist the students to be successful is pervasive. 

    Students are encouraged to call anytime they feel discouraged or have a problem. The result was outstanding: As shown in Figure 10.2, the attrition rate fell rapidly. The attrition rate for 2003 and 2004 was 6%. 

Establish a Research Agenda

    Establishing a research agenda has been a slow process. It has been clear from the beginning that there would be a focus on institutional effectiveness, clinical issues, and educational issues. One necessary goal identified was to increase the number of doctorally prepared faculty members. (At the beginning of this process, there were none.) In 1999 one was hired, in 2000 two were hired, in 2001 two were hired, in 2002 one was hired, and in 2004 one more was hired. 

    A faculty tuition assistance program was established. One faculty member started a doctoral program and finished in 2002. Five faculty members are currently enrolled in doctoral programs with two more planned enrollment in 2005. There are currently seven full-time and one part-time doctor all prepared faculty members. This faculty is now poised to do clinical research. 

Develop Faculty Practice

    The next goal was to establish a faculty practice; a place where the effectiveness of nurse practitioner and nurse-midwifery care could be demonstrated. The obvious choice was the FNS rural health clinics. In 2002, FSMFN took over the management of the rural health clinics' clinical staff. Faculty members provide all clinical services. 

    Any nurse practitioner or nurse-midwife recruited to work in the clinics became an employee of the school and a member of the faculty practice. This provided the school with clinical faculty and provided Frontier Nursing Healthcare (FNH) with needed doctors. It also established an optimal place to conduct clinical research on the effectiveness of nursing practitioners and nurse midwifery care. 

    In 2003, FSMFN Chair of Family Nursing Julie Marfell was appointed as the executive director of the Frontier Nursing Healthcare rural health clinics. A complete evaluation of electronic medical records systems resulted in the purchase of a new system. The electronic system provides medical record management, a billing system, and data collection. This data collection function will provide health process and outcome data. 

Integration of Practice and Research

    The combined actions of increasing the number of doctorate prepared faculty, establishing a clinical practice environment, and implementing a system that will track data provides a solid basis to move forward and do clinical research. Faculty continue to move forward towards the goal of establishing a program of research at FSMFN. 

    In 2004, after lengthy discussions in the faculty forum, the faculty voted on a definition of scholarship and how they will implement this definition as part of their faculty responsibilities. The adoption of this statement is part of the process that this faculty is engaged in to develop their scholarly identity. The agreed upon scholarly focus is evaluative research related to advanced nursing practice.

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