Helping nurses safely return to patient care_688x376-1031336480

Helping nurses safely return to patient care

August 3, 2021
August 3, 2021

Nursing shortages are having a significant impact on hospitals. When there are not enough nurses to staff hospital units, organizations are forced to transition nurses into essential clinical roles with limited or inadequate training. This situation causes many nurses to feel burnt-out and more likely to leave. With COVID-19 exacerbating the nursing shortage now more than ever, many nurses who previously left the bedside are now returning to meet the demand.

What does it take for nurses to return to direct patient care?

Nurses face several roadblocks when returning to the bedside—some nurses may need to reinstate elapsed nursing licenses and others may need to catch up on continuing education requirements. Many are required to take a refresher course or program to return to the bedside.

Sigma's Return to Nursing program can help nurses safely and confidently return to the bedside by equipping them with the necessary didactic education. Sigma's mission as an organization is to develop nurse leaders anywhere to improve healthcare everywhere. This program was designed for nurses who've been out of the workforce but want to return to practice. The seven-course program focuses on the concepts, values, and issues that affect current nursing practice. Topics involving health promotion, physiological and psychosocial integrity, as well as safe and effective care environments are threaded throughout the whole program to help ensure a learner, who's returning to the clinical nursing role after time away, receives a comprehensive refresher.

Preparation to return to bedside nursing care

The program addresses core values, fundamental concepts, and ethical principles of the nursing profession. It also identifies challenges and opportunities regarding patient safety, care delivery, transition of care, and quality improvement. The educational programs are produced by educators and instructional designers and are subject to peer review ensuring that all material is evidence-based, current, and high quality. Sigma researched state refresher course requirements to meet as many as possible.

Designed for learner engagement and interaction

What distinguishes this program is learner engagement and interactability—each learner is actively engaging in the content in various ways, such as a drag and drop item, user clicks, and video demonstrations, allowing an experience customized to the learner's needs and interests. Overall, the program offers 54.3 contact hours, and a certificate is awarded after successful completion of all seven courses. The completion of the program satisfies the didactic educational requirements in many states, which may be required before returning to a nursing role.

The seven courses include:

  • Nursing as a Profession and a Discipline, 2.5 contact hours.
  • Contemporary Issues in Healthcare, 4.7 contact hours.
  • Fundamental Concepts of Nursing Practice, 14.5 contact hours.
  • Pharmacological and Parental Therapies, 9 contact hours.
  • Health Assessment, 4.4 contact hours.
  • Care of Patients with Behavioral Health Concerns and Mental Health Conditions, 3,.5 contact hours.
  • Care of Patients with Acute Medical Surgical Health Conditions, 15.7 contact hours.

When creating the learner experience, Sigma recognizes that nurses taking this program have vastly diverse backgrounds in terms of nursing education and practice. The asynchronous distance education format of this program differs from traditional teaching and learning methods. Adult learning theory and standards for distance education helped guide the instructional design and content delivery. The program content is rooted in theory and reflects current best practices. Learning outcomes are mapped to the larger program's overall learning outcomes, as well as with the American Nursing Association (ANA) scope and standards of nursing practice and the NCLEX test blueprint.

This program can be used by organizations or institutions in several ways—as a free-standing review of knowledge needed to provide direct care to acutely ill adults or as a foundation for situations in which the learner may be required to gain additional experience in simulation and/or clinical practice before they are ready to return to direct patient care. This program can free up clinical educators' time, allowing them to focus on more specialized areas of clinical education.

This blog post is based on a HealthStream webinar, Back to the bedside: Equipping nurses for care, presented by three nursing experts from Sigma: Dr. Debbie Lindell, the Marvin E. and Ruth Durr Denekas Professor of Nursing at Cleveland's Case Western Reserve University, who serves on the board of the Alpha Nu chapter of Sigma, was the lead content editor and author for this substantive revision of the Return to Nursing program, and is the former chair of the NLN's Certified Nurse Educator Commission; Dr. Sara Kaylor, Associate Professor at the University of Alabama Capstone College of Nursing in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, a past scholar in the Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy; and Erica Schmidt, Manager of Educational Resources at Sigma.

If you would like to speak with a representative to discuss how Sigma's Return to Nursing Program can help your organization provide nurses with the knowledge needed to return to the bedside safely, click here.