The American Association of Colleges of Nursing is developing a new toolkit that offers a shot of innovation to nursing programs. Funded by a grant, the teaching tools will help new nurses understand ways to be innovative and focus on patient-centered care.
The COVID-19 pandemic was an all-hands-on-deck experience for nurses, and during that unprecedented time, nurses had to be innovative, focus on patients, and work with limited information about the disease they were treating. While this felt new, it wasn’t the first time this has happened. For example, in the 1980s, nurses treating AIDS patients faced a similar set of circumstances.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing is taking the lessons learned from the AIDS epidemic and translating them to into a teaching toolkit for nurse educators.
“In a lot of ways, it’s similar to what nurses just went through with COVID,” said Robert Rosseter, chief communications officer for AACN. “In the early days of AIDS, there was no blueprint. We didn’t have protocols in place on how to deal with a situation like this. This is a very good example and a good history lesson for new nurses to show how nursing leadership were able to use innovation to care for a population at risk.”
Funded by a grant from Johnson & Johnson, the toolkit will use resources from 5B—a documentary about nursing during the AIDS epidemic—to help craft impactful lessons for nursing students on compassionate, patient-centered care.
“It’s a live example of how nurses were able to rise to the occasion and address a very difficult healthcare issue,” Rosseter said. “When you’re in a hospital or other care setting, it’s the nurse you see primarily, so it’s important that we reinforce that message with nurses in the pipeline, so they understand the role that they play.”
The toolkit will be developed over the summer and launch this fall, Rosseter said. In addition to the toolkit, AACN will provide webinars and resources to help nursing educators integrate the lessons into their curriculum. “We’re going to bring in some of the expert committee, and they’re going to talk about what we’ve learned over the course of putting the toolkit together, what works, and how schools can go ahead and implement it,” he said.
Thanks to the grant funding, the toolkit and other resources will be available free to nursing programs in the U.S. and internationally.
Member response to the toolkit has been positive so far. “When we sent out the notice, a lot of faculty contacted us and said they would like to participate in this work and they understand the value and where we are going,” Rosseter said. “We heard from students, from faculty, and from our practice colleagues; they’re all excited about the potential of this work.”