Bridge to Practice: Connecting Online Courses with Institutional Practice
Megan Mikula, BA, BS, RN, OCN
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Online instruction is an established teaching method in academia and an emerging format utilized by Nursing Professional Development practitioners in the hospital setting. Commercially available online courses have wide appeal, but they cannot address specific institutional policies, procedures, practices and their relation to the general content of the course nor can the online course provide hands-on training. Thus a gap between theory and practice is formed. “Bridge to Practice” (BTP) classes were developed to close the gap between online content and the application of the course principles within an institution. In-person classes provided an opportunity to dialogue and reinforce best practice. Sessions helped participants identify institutional resources and apply them to nursing practice. BTP content was developed from policies, procedures, standards of practice, trends identified from performance improvement indicators, occurrence reports, needs assessment, and clinician expertise. Experienced clinical leaders and subject matter experts were recruited to clarify content, respond to institution specific questions, and dispel misconceptions. Group discussions provided for an exchange of ideas and patient treatment experiences. The BTP also offered a unique opportunity for hands-on, small group instruction for those ready for competency validation/re-validation. Course evaluations reported the in-person discussions and hands-on practice enhanced their online learning experience. Participants appreciated time to synthesize new knowledge in the context of institution policy and the focus on institutional practice.
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