Nursing skills put to the test

nursing students study NCLEX
Nursing students looking to prep for their NCLEX exams now have a new option. / Getty

NCLEX test prep materials help nurses prepare.

Gearing up for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) is about to get easier for aspiring nurses. While test prep resources previously have been limited to expensive review courses and lecture notes, students will soon have a wealth of open access, peer-developed and peer-reviewed study materials available online.

The project is the result of a three-way partnership. It is funded by The Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence using the clinical nursing expertise of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). The Khan Academy, a non-profit focused on innovating free online education, will provide the platform to distribute the material.

Resources focusing on nursing have been particularly lacking online. “I’ve always noticed this was a group of people who seemed interested in something like this,” said Dr. Richi Desai of Khan Academy,  who has worked on developing health education materials in the past. “The MCAT tests pre-clinical information. What about clinical skills?” Nurses are responsible for a range of knowledge, like inserting IVs or catheters, that are less straightforward than studying physiology.”

The structure of the study materials will tie directly to patient care. “One of the most essential skills of a nurse is critical thinking,” said Dr. Jane Kirschling, president of AACN. “You need to be able to take a wealth of information and decide what is most important to help guide your care for a specific individual.” The study materials will be organized by types of illnesses and patients to help nurses decide how to prioritize the steps of a given patient’s care. It’s information that is applicable well after the NCLEX —  many health workers double-check facts on the job using their smart phones.

Positive innovations in nursing affect the patient experience. “Nurses are the key to improving healthcare. They’re the ones in contact with patients for the greatest amount of time,” said Darlene Curley, executive director of the Jonas Center, a philanthropic organization dedicated to improving health care through nursing. But patient care is a team effort — and while these materials are designed with nurses in mind, they’re also handy references for other medical professionals and their patients. “This is the future of health care education,” Curley said. “It’s an opportunity to improve it worldwide.”

 



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