Pandemic Prompts Creation of College’s Online Nursing Skills Video Library

From Touch Point Online Magazine, Fall 2020 – Vol. IIII, Issue 3

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced Kent State University to go completely remote midway through the spring 2020 semester, College of Nursing lecturer Sarah Bixler, MSN, RN, knew she would need to get creative with her teaching methods. “I have two school-aged children at home whose world was also turned upside down. While I was managing their new remote learning schedules, I also needed to develop courses for my sophomore nursing students who were missing the opportunity to practice hands-on in the skills lab.” Like many of her colleagues, Bixler quickly developed asynchronous lessons her students could view at their own convenience regardless of when the lectures would have been delivered in class. “A lot of my work happened very late at night, around one or two o'clock in the morning. I'd be quietly recording downstairs while my family was asleep upstairs because that’s when I could concentrate and had uninterrupted time.” When it became apparent fall semester would look different as well, Bixler, with the assistance of nursing lecturer Ann Marie James, MSN, RN, and the college’s marketing department, created the college’s first online nursing skills video library.

Prior to COVID-19, sophomore nursing students spent roughly two hours in the skills lab per week. During this time, Bixler would demonstrate the skills, teach the theory behind the skill and allow the class to practice. This semester, however, the demonstration and theory portions have moved online. “Students often ask if they can videotape skill demonstrations in the lab for their own review later,” acknowledged Bixler, who added a few demonstration videos have always been available to students through the college’s NCLEX test preparation program, Kaplan, and as an optional add-on with the course textbook. “Our videos will provide a uniform way to teach these skills to all of our students and provide a reference they can refer to throughout their schooling. Additionally, with classes of 20 or more students, those in the back of the room often had a hard time observing while I was demonstrating. These videos eliminate that problem as well.”

Starting with the fall semester, students will learn how to mix two different types of insulin into the same syringe, don sterile gloves, apply a dressing to a wound and more remotely before their designated in-person skills lab. Bixler explained, “I'm so excited about how we're delivering content. Instead of having 20 or more students in the lab for two hours, I will have eight students for 30 minutes. Students want more practice time and more one-on-one time with their instructor and I'm going to be able to provide that personalized attention this semester.”

For Bixler, the videos are a way to connect with her students, stating “the students can see and hear faculty they know and trust.” These videos will not only teach what step to do first, but also the thought process behind each action. “In nursing, there are many right ways to do something and beginner students sometimes struggle with that. They need a concrete way to do something and require repetition when it comes to learning a new skill,” stressed Bixler. “Sophomore students always receive a skills bags with a dressing change kit and sterile gloves. They can watch the videos and practice the skill with their supplies while a faculty member demonstrates at the same time. Unlike previous classes, current students won’t just get one demonstration in lab, they can refer to these videos as often as they need to across the curriculum.”

As the semester progresses, Bixler is excited to watch students engage with the new video library. “I'm tracking statistics so I can tell whether or not the students watched the videos prior to lab,” she shared. “Once we have a final library completed, which will include nearly 25 skill videos, I will send it to the spring 2020 students as well. This resource was also shared with the regional faculty.”

In addition to access to the newly created video library, sophomore students from the spring semester had the opportunity sign-up for a time to practice skills they missed during Ohio’s stay-at-home order. Two days before the start of the fall semester, Bixler, James, simulation lab coordinator Jennifer Shanholtzer, MSN, Ph.D. candidate, RN, CHSE, and part-time adjunct faculty Natalie Cline, MSN, RN, volunteered 16-hours of their time to work with nearly 120 nursing students. “Spots filled up quickly. I had students email asking for additional days to come in because they wanted that experience,” said Bixler. “We held small group sessions of 10 students or less.”

Throughout past semesters, James would frequently hold open skills lab sessions that were available to all Kent nursing students. “This semester because of the restrictions in space, students are required to sign-up for an appointment and list which skill they want to practice,” emphasized Bixler. “We had students sign-up for every slot offered, so we’ve established guidelines to ensure there are opportunities for everyone to practice.”

Looking towards the future, Bixler says the video library is here to stay. “I love that our students will be able to watch them over and over,” she exclaimed. “Plus, it'll be easy to update one or two if practice changes or we acquire new equipment. These videos are going to be another pillar we use to educate our Kent State nursing students.”

A two-time alumna of Kent State University College of Nursing, Bixler said “it's been fulfilling to be part of this great program and add my unique professional perspective.” She enjoys working with sophomore students because they are eager to begin their clinical rotations. “Many are nervous or excited, and some are afraid to walk into a patient's room,” exclaimed Bixler. “To have the privilege and responsibility to build their confidence, teach the skills they need to make a difference in the world and start feeling like a nurse is both fun and rewarding.”

POSTED: Monday, September 21, 2020 - 3:10pm
UPDATED: Friday, December 4, 2020 - 3:42pm
Mariah Gibbons