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Learning Center Experience
practicing nurses may assume they possess all the assessment skills they need
to promote positive patient outcomes. However, many do not use their physical assessment
skills to the full extent. It is the
nurse’s responsibility to competently utilize all assessment techniques,
including inspection, palpation, percussion, and auscultation. Some nurses may not
use all of these techniques in their clinical areas.
The reason for this performance
gap is that there is often a lack of focus on the more advanced techniques in
the practice setting (Secrest, Norwood, & DuMont, 2005). Some nurses may
assume it is the responsibility of the advanced practice nurse to effectively
use all assessment techniques. However, it is every nurse’s responsibility
(even novice nurses) to utilize these techniques in order to identify abnormal
findings and communicate them to the treatment team. When nurses lack these
necessary skills and rely on others in advanced roles to identify issues, they
are doing a disservice to their patients.
there is such a great need for nurses to be well-trained and able to meet the
needs of a diverse patient population, Kaplan University’s School of Nursing is
making some innovative moves in student learning. We now have integrated
computer-based programs with your nursing curriculum. We offer a unique
opportunity for our students to enhance their ability to provide a complete and
holistic physical assessment through didactic studies and web-based
With the introduction of
Shadow Health in both our Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Science
in Nursing health assessment courses and one nursing practice clinical course,
students are now able to participate in a learning experience that is both
challenging and exciting. Shadow Health helps our students engage in patient
care that mimics the real world experience with patients that are interactive, diverse,
Cooper (2015) state that “web-based simulation programs are a valuable resource
that can be used in combination with traditional forms of laboratory and
classroom teaching, in order to facilitate the development of students’ clinical
competence” (p.113). It is through web-based programs that we help our students
identify weaknesses in their assessment approach in order to enhance their
techniques, practice, and patient outcomes.
Shadow Health provides our learners with an opportunity to practice old skills
and learn new skills in a safe, therapeutic environment. With features that allow for immediate
program performance feedback, as well as expert feedback from the instructor,
these students can go forward into the clinical setting with confidence in
their skills. Because of their increased understanding of their assessment
findings, Kaplan University’s nursing students will be better prepared to
improve and promote positive patient outcomes.
We are excited about
this innovative approach to learning in nursing. We strive to enhance our
students’ learning experience with learning strategies that are effective,
creative, and evidence-based. Because technology strongly influences the
direction of healthcare, we want our students to be not only successful in
practice, but also technologically advanced. We have other exciting endeavors
planned. Stay tuned—there is more to come from the School of Nursing.
Cant, R.P., & Cooper, S. J. (2015). The time is
right for web-based clinical simulation in nursing education.
Journal of Nursing Education and Practice,
5(11), 113-119. doi: 10.5430/jnep.v5n11p113
Secrest, J.A., Norwood, B.R., DuMont, P.M. (2005).
Physical assessment skills: A descriptive study
of what is taught and what is practiced. Journal
of Professional Nursing, 21(2), 114-118.
* Kaplan University cannot guarantee employment or career advancement.
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