AACN's new tool simplifies ICU nurse onboarding

The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses launched a knowledge assessment tool, Feb. 13 to more easily find knowledge gaps and personalize new training to streamline onboarding time for ICU nurses. 

It's something that a few nurse leaders have already jumped on, and have begun seeking out leadership approvals to implement it fully at their respective hospitals. 

It's being looked at by some, like Jodi Doney, MSN, RN, nurse educator at Ohio State Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital in Columbus, as a tool that can assist not only with onboarding, but also retention, since its personalization aspects help new nurses avoid unnecessary or redundant training modules they may be given without the new system.

"Financially for the organization, I think it will have a huge impact because, there's a cost to onboarding. While people are orienting to the hospital setting, it is all non-productive time — especially in critical care — and it can be a very lengthy process with lengthy time, which again, costs organizations quite a bit of money upfront," Ms. Doney told Becker's. "If we can get that right in the beginning, and we can give them a very good experience and give them what they feel was meaningful onboarding to their areas, to their unit, and where they feel like they can safely care for their patients in the most effective way; it will just increase their satisfaction and make them want to stay where they're at." 

The AACN's digital tool asks a series of questions to the new nurses and then takes that information to identify any knowledge gaps and then serve up onboarding modules as needed.

The aim is "intended to support a process that is both consistent in its application and personalized to each nurse, regardless of background or experience, allowing educators who are challenged by staffing fluctuations to support an effective onboarding and training process for everyone," an AACN spokesperson told Becker's

The organization says a group of critical care experts from across the country worked in partnership to develop the tool and bring it to fruition. Prior to the official roll-out, it also underwent validation testing and pilot testing with a group of diverse nurses to refine the series of questions the technology asks and cover all necessary knowledge for nurses working in hospitals, academic medical centers and other critical care settings. 

Other tools like it could be on the horizon, the group said.

"AACN is in the early stages of exploring the possibility of creating similar tools to address other critical care populations," the spokesperson shared with Becker's. "Any new tools will undergo review and evaluation to ensure it remains current with evidence-based practice."

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