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22st Annual OLC International Conference
November 16-18, 2016 | Orlando, Florida | Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin Resort

OLC Innovate 2016 - Innovations in Blended and Online Learning
April 20-22, 2016 | New Orleans, LA | Sheraton New Orleans Hotel

A Conceptual Framework and "3-2-1" Program to Support Diversity in Graduate Nursing Education

Teresa Dodd-Butera (CSU San Bernardino, USA)
Mauricio Cadavid (CSU San Bernardino, USA)
Additional Authors
Marilyn Stoner (CSU San Bernardino, USA)
Asma Taha (CSU San Bernardino, USA)
Margaret Beaman (CSU San Bernardino, USA)
Takiya Moore (CSU San Bernardino, USA)
Session Information
July 8, 2014 - 5:30pm
Teaching & Learning Effectiveness
Areas of Special Interest: 
Blended Program/Degree
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Research and Evaluation
Institutional Level: 
Universities and Four Year Institutions
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Electronic Poster
Plaza Foyer
Session Duration: 
60 Minutes
Electronic Poster Session

Innovation in blended learning programs supports student success for diverse populations in graduate nursing education and practice

Extended Abstract

The nine essential components for a graduate nursing education, as identified by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2011), address issues of quality, competency, innovation and evidence-based practice. Graduates with a master's degree in nursing must be prepared to: pioneer creative solutions to caring for individuals and communities; and assume leadership roles in an evolving healthcare system. These roles require sensitivity in caring for diverse populations. According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2012), individuals from ethnic and racial minority groups accounted for more than 37% of the U.S. population; whereas, nurses from minority backgrounds represent 19% of the registered nurse workforce (NCSBN et al., 2013). Attrition rates of minority nursing students contribute to the problem of underrepresentation within the profession (Seago & Spetz, 2005). This is a report of a southern California institution in a geographic region covering approximately seven states, with a level of diversity in the graduate nursing students in which no one ethnic group predominates (see Table 1). Attracting and retaining diversity for students and nursing faculty represents a goal in nursing education (AACN, 2012), which supports opportunities and equitable representation.

Table 1. Graduate Nursing Student Self-Reported Demographic Data
Gender: Female: 80%; Male: 20%
Race/Ethnicity: African (3%) African - American(23%) Asian (17%)
Caucasian(37%) Hispanic/Latino (20%)
Countries of Origin: Cameroon; Canada; Jamaica; Mexico; Nigeria; Philippines;
Mean Age in Years: 37.3 years

Graduate education is foundational for advanced roles in nursing and population-based care; and offers a critical period for addressing innovation for lifelong learning, improvements in public health, and advancement of health equity and diversity. The graduate nursing program offers three concentration options: Population-based, Nurse Educator, and Advanced Public Health Nursing. All are hybrid-online offerings, meeting approximately once per month in a year-round quarter system, with an innovative "3-2-1" blended learning delivery option for coursework. Students taking 3 courses/per quarter can graduate in 1 year, 2 courses per/quarter in 2 years, and 1 course per/quarter can graduate in 3 years. This allows for flexibility in consideration of economic hardship and demanding work schedules. Students decide the best option, with faculty advising and guidance. Veal et al.(2012), proposed a framework for academic success for ethnically diverse graduate nursing students proposing recommendations which included administrative action, faculty responsiveness, and availability of student resources. Approaching the framework at this diverse institution, the administrative action supports predictable course offerings with the "3-2-1" blended learning program. Initial coursework includes an in-person orientation course, where students can meet peers and faculty to serve as mentors and role models. This is considered paramount for student success (Gardner, 2005; Vaquerra, 2007). Evaluation of program and teaching effectiveness is measured through regular administration of surveys on student opinion of teaching effectiveness(SOTEs) and student perception of achievement of course outcomes (SACOs), for each course offered. Results are analyzed by the institution's office of Online Distributed Learning (ODL) and evaluated by the faculty serving on the Graduate Committee for teaching and learning success, in addition to assessing program effectiveness. Stakeholder meetings are held in the form of student workshops and community forums for a presentation of results, and to incorporate feedback for program improvement.

Graduate faculty members contribute to teaching and learning through regular class meetings and communication with nursing students, including face-to-face, phone, and virtual office hours. This follows the Veal et al (2012) conceptual framework guidelines supporting faculty and student interaction as vital to a supportive learning environment to create an "enduring effect on learning and professional development (p. 26)" for a diverse student population.

The office of ODL provides faculty and student resources, supported by institutional infrastructure. "Hands- on" workshops and seminars for students and instructors are offered on an on-going basis. Faculty support includes one-on-one trainings on course design, student engagement and success, assessment, and best practices for online instruction, and ADA compliance. Instructional design is offered to appropriately situate the technology within an online pedagogical framework. In addition, the ODL office offers online tutorials on the Learning Management System(Blackboard).

A Student Technology Support Center(STSC) that offers basic "Blackboard" training for all students is also in place. Free technology workshops on campus-supported software are regularly offered. STSC provides individual support for students encountering difficulty using supported software with class assignments. Students may also schedule appointments with STSC staff or reserve the STSC computer lab facility to support study group and class project activities.

Evaluation of the hybrid-online program from graduate nursing student input found an overall mean agreement of 85%, meeting course and program objectives from SACO surveys. Median SOTE scores for faculty and course evaluation were 6 (maximum score = 6). Median time to graduation for graduate nursing students was 3years, with a 60.4% student retention rate, as reported from 2010-2012 data. The graduate nursing program found agreement in educational practice with the conceptual framework recommendations of Veal and colleagues (2012) for improving student success and retention in diverse student populations, addressing the recommendations of administrative, graduate faculty, and student support and resources. Continued assessment and evaluation are planned, with the goal of academic success and retention for graduate nursing students utilizing blended learning methods and innovative programs.

American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2011); http://www.aacn.nche.edu/education-resources/MastersEssentials11.pdf
American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2014); retrieved from: http://www.aacn.nche.edu/media-relations/fact-sheets/enhancing-diversity
Gardner J (2005). Journal of Transcultural Nursing; 16(2), 155-162.
National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) and the Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers (2013); National RN Workforce Study; retrieved from: https://www.ncsbn.org/4551.htm
Seago J & Spetz J. (2005); Journal of Nursing Education; 44(12) 555-562.
United States Census Bureau (2012); retrieved from: http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/cats/population.html
Vaquerra J (2007). Journal of College Student Retention; 9(3) 283-305.
Veal JL1, Bull MJ, Miller JF. (2012). Nursing Education Perspective; 33 (5): 322-327.