ANA Provides Free Infection Control and Prevention Education for Nurses, by Nurses

A core aspect of Project Firstline a national training collaborative for healthcare infection control led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  is  content tailored specifically to its intended healthcare worker audience. As one of 64 organizations partnering with the CDC to create innovative and engaging infection prevention and control (IPC) education materials, the American Nurses Association (ANA) has developed state-of-the-art modules for nurses to refresh their Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) knowledge and earn continuing nursing education credits.This effective and appealing content, geared directly to nurses, aims to prevent the spread of infection in clinical settings. To achieve this goal, the ANA Project Firstline team, guided by education specialist Rasheda Jones, PhD, RN, combined tried and true education design processes and the latest learning theories in developing this rich and readily accessible content.

Before planning any educational intervention, a needs assessment can help identify knowledge gaps and determine the full spectrum of learning needs. After ANA released three insight surveys to its constituents, approximately 1,500 registered nurses responded with crucial feedback. These surveys addressed hospital-acquired infections, emergency and disaster preparedness, personal protective equipment, and safe injection practices. Each survey response revealed quantitative and qualitative insights that helped the team develop IPC-focused content for nurses. 

The first insight survey released focused on Vaccination IPC. We learned that over 75% of nurses found that the topics of multi-dose vial use, injection safety practices, and safe use and disposal of needles were valuable or very valuable. Standard precautions, aseptic technique, and patient education related to injection administration were additional topics nurses found to be very interested in. This data was used to tailor the development of the first two launched ANA PFL modules titled Muli-Dose Vial Use and Injection Safety which are available on nursingworld.org. 

The education design process, like the nursing process that systematically guides nursing care, requires assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation. When using the process for education design, nurse educators’ first tasks are to determine a learner’s needs and the appropriate implementation modality to meet those needs. Given nurses’ busy schedules—especially during the COVID-19 pandemic—the team concluded that brief, easy-to-access instructional modules would be most effective. With this in mind, each module is designed to be less than 15 – 20 minutes and always accessible on ANA’s website at ANAProjectFirstline.org. ANA PFL engaged nurse subject matter experts (SMEs) representing a range of specialties and roles to ensure that the educational resources would be relevant and tailored to nurses’ unique needs. These SMEs provided detailed knowledge and expertise on specific IPC subjects that arose from the surveys and worked closely with Jones in refining this content. Along with CDC’s Project Firstline leaders, Dr. Jones reviewed the content to ensure that it aligned with CDC’s peer review recommendations. Nurses in clinical, academic, executive, and researcher roles participated in this process to provide an inclusive and comprehensive perspective for the content. The team also followed guidelines to ensure that the content met the American Nurses Credentialing Center accreditation standards for nursing continuing professional development.

IPC core principles, integrated into the foundation of the nursing education curriculum, guide nursing practice. Within this context, Jones aimed to present Project Firstline IPC content innovatively by applying the IGNITE model, an evidence-based, brain-based learning theory for online course design that increases learning retention. The IGNITE model incorporates emerging trends in neuroeducation and intervals of intense focus followed by frequent breaks, repetition, and novelty, such as humor and frequent design change. Instructional designers further elevated end users’ experience by implementing engagement strategies and creative visual design elements. 

To date over 1500 nurses have completed ANA Project Firstline modules and over 2000 contact hours have been awarded. Based on post-education evaluations, end-users overwhelmingly believed their understanding of the educational content positively impacted their clinical practice. ANA Project Firstline’s innovative approach to providing IPC continuing education aims to build competency and close knowledge gaps to achieve lasting positive results in nursing practice and provide safe and effective patient care.

Learn more about existing free resources and upcoming educational modules at ANAProjectFirstline.org.

Rasheda Jones is an education specialist for ANA Project Firstline. Sandy Cayo is project coordinator for ANA Project Firstline. Katie Boston-Leary is director of nursing programs at ANA and co-lead for ANA Project Firstline. Kendra McMillan is a senior policy advisor in Nursing Practice and Work Environment at ANA and is co-lead for ANA Project Firstline.

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