Performing certain pediatric exams is one facet of educating those in associate degree nursing.
Two nursing instructors at Alvin Community College recently completed a research poster project highlighting their efforts to increase training for pediatric exams for their students.
Wendy Stewart and Courtney Wolfe were awarded third out of 45 entries in the national competition hosted by the Organization for Associate Degree Nursing.
“We feel very honored to receive a Certificate of Excellence from OADN,” Stewart said.
“This is such an honor for us,” Wolfe said.
The instructors pursued their project to highlight the need and increase for student training in pediatric exams.
“I am so proud of Wendy for recognizing a deficiency in the curriculum and creating an innovative project to fill the gap,” said Dr. Debbi Fontenot, nursing director at ACC. “With Courtney’s expertise in pediatrics, together they both have strengthened the pediatric curriculum. I am very proud of both of them.”
Pediatric clinical placement in a hospital setting has become difficult to obtain in recent years.
The difficulty was one of the reasons the college changed to an integrated curriculum beginning in 2015. As part of the new curriculum, pediatric content is taught to students in the first semester as opposed to the third semester or second year.
Students now receive training over four semesters total.
“Our current ATI (Assessment Technologies Institute) pediatric exam (external nursing exam) is given at the end of our second semester,” Stewart said. “Since the implementation of our new curriculum we have noticed a significant decrease in our ATI Pediatric exam scores and wanted to do something to help the students learn the material better as well as boost their scores.”
So in 2018, a group of instructors created the Pediatric Poster Project to enhance the pediatric content of the nursing program as well as to allow students more time to learn the content. The instructors also developed a list of pediatric topics the students could choose from as well as designed a rubric for grading.
“This is a research project each student in our class does with one of their classmates,” Wolfe said. “Using research, they put a poster together that briefly describes the pathophysiology, develop nursing interventions and teaching associated as well as the growth and development considerations for the pediatric topic.”
The students then meet and share their results as well as take quizzes on their material at the end of the semester.
Since the implementation of the project, ATI scores have improved dramatically.
“Prior to the institution of this project, only 46 percent of students were awarded any ATI points for their exam scores,” Stewart said. “Since this project the percentage has risen to 81 percent and above.”