Their Article, “Attaining Baccalaureate Competencies for Nursing Care of Older Adults Through Curriculum Innovation,” is Part of a Special Issue Focusing on Gerontology
New York University College of Nursing (NYUCN) faculty members Ann Marie P. Mauro, PhD, RN, CNL, CNE, Mary T. Hickey, EdD, WHNP-BC, Donna E . McCabe, DNP, APRN-BC, GNP, and Emerson Ea, DNP, APRN-BC, CEN, have published “Attaining Baccalaureate Competencies for Nursing Care of Older Adults Through Curriculum Innovation” in the May/June 2012 Nursing Education Perspectives. This is special edition devoted to nursing education in the specialized and growing field of gerontology.
In the article, the authors describe NYUCN’s approaches and methodology to the College’s curriculum redesign in order to integrate baccalaureate geriatric competencies for students and to develop instructional methods to meet changing educational demands. Begun in 2010, the redesign was informed based on the emerging literature, feedback from clinical partners, and an understanding of the complex health care needs of older adults.
“There is a need to transform nursing education to meet the demands of an aging population with complex health needs in a dynamic health care environment,” said Dr. Mauro. “This requires faculty development, curriculum redesign, and integrative teaching strategies that contextualize learning and provide students with opportunities for reflection and critical thinking,” she said.
NYUCN has integrated geriatric content throughout its baccalaureate curriculum and also transformed traditional “medical-surgical” nursing courses in fundamentals, acute care, and gerontology into Adult and Elder Nursing I, II, and III to enhance competencies in providing quality, safe nursing care to older adults.
“NYU College of Nursing has been a leader in developing and implementing undergraduate and graduate programs which build the knowledge and skills of our graduates to provide age sensitive care to older adults across the health care continuum,” said Dr. Tara A. Cortes, PhD, RN, FAAN, Executive Director of the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing, at NYUCN, and professor of Geriatric Nursing.
This new curriculum promotes up-to-date, evidence-based plans of care for older adults in acute care, long-term care, and community settings. Students use evidence-based geriatric assessment tools to identify physical, cognitive, affective, functional, and social issues, such as the Fulmer SPICES assessment tool for identifying common syndromes of the elderly requiring nursing intervention.
Integrative didactic strategies to develop clinical decision-making skills and to contextualize learning for an aging population with complex health needs are used. These strategies include Socratic questioning, clinical examples, unfolding cases, critical thinking exercises with NCLEX-RN style questions using audience response technology, virtual patients, and podcasting.
“In order to promote clinical decision making and integrative thinking, students have access to the latest technology and take integrative seminars that correspond with the adult and elder courses,” said Dr. Mauro. “Our innovative A-B model alternates 50% high-fidelity simulation with 50% traditional clinical experiences in acute or long term care agencies,” she said.
The authors note that students have responded positively to the many opportunities they have to learn about the unique needs of older adults in multiple settings. NYUCN students observe experts who are committed to promoting safe, quality, compassionate care to older adults in action on a daily basis.
About the Authors:
•Ann Marie P. Mauro, PhD, RN, CNL, CNE, is clinical associate professor, senior clinical faculty associate in the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing and Curriculum Committee chairperson.
•Mary T. Hickey, EdD, WHNP-BC, is clinical associate professor.
•Donna E. McCabe, DNP, APRN-BC, GNP, is clinical assistant professor and senior clinical faculty associate in the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing.
•Emerson Ea, DNP, APRN-BC, CEN, is clinical assistant professor and senior clinical faculty associate in the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing.
The New York University College of Nursing is a global leader in nursing education, research, and practice. It offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing; Master of Arts and Post-Master’s Certificate Programs; a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree; and a Doctor of Philosophy in Research Theory and Development. For more information, visit www.nyu.edu/nursing.
The Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing, at New York University’s College of Nursing, is the only nurse-led organization in the country that seeks to shape the quality of health care older Americans receive by promoting the highest level of geriatric competence in all nurses. By raising the standards of nursing care, the Hartford Institute aims to ensure that people age with optimal function, comfort, and dignity. The Hartford Institute is recognized as unique in its focus on disseminating best practices to nursing students, faculty, practicing nurses, and policy makers.
Dedicated to excellence in nursing, the National League for Nursing is the premier organization for nurse faculty and leaders in nursing education. The NLN offers professional development, networking opportunities, testing services, nursing research grants, and public policy initiatives to its 37,000 individual and 1,200 institutional members. NLN members represent nursing education programs across the spectrum of higher education and health care organizations and agencies.