Case Study - Numbers for nurses
Application of Number for Nursing - case study by Christopher Jones, Senior Health Lecturer School of Nursing
Click here to see the end products of this case study.
This project developed initially as a small part of my teaching role in the support of Student Nurses that had difficulty with application of number. From the students' point of view, application of number was a small part of their curriculum however as the project developed, changes within the Nursing Profession, necessitated an increase in my time involvement and an increase in the level of importance that application of number had in the curriculum.
This project was intended to support student nurses throughout the five main geographical sites that exist in the School of Nursing at the University of Nottingham. This geographical spread of the School made communication difficult and added to the time taken to generate clinical content and group agreement.
As this project was developing from work I was already involved with, no time was initially dedicated to this development. However certain time periods can be assigned to certain parts of the project which where new to my increasing role.
To obtain a fuller picture of the problem that needed to be addressed two or three hours were initially need to talk to as many student groups as were available. This then highlighted the main areas of student concern and the level and type of support that they would need. This material was discussed at Maths Group meetings and can account for three to four hours.
Initial research into what packages were available, both nationally and within the University, took several weeks, of several hours a day, and involved new contacts with different departments of the University
This information was then discussed at the Application of Number Group within the school, to elicit the views of members from different sites of the University and different Branches of Nursing. Although we have regular meetings, this was time consuming trying to ensure that all the wide geographical areas were represented. This perhaps took three, two hour meetings over several months.
This time scale was particularly long as we needed the Maths Group to liaise with the clinical areas in several Hospital Trusts throughout the region, to define what application would be most useful to clinicians working with student nurses.
Following this consultation there was a good amount of individual time (about 40 hours) putting together the ideas generated by the group, into a flowchart of both content and delivery method. At this stage the group only had ideas of how they thought the content should be delivered as we had limited working knowledge of the technology which could be used to present this content in an interactive manner.
A further two hours were allocated to discussions related to how the presentation of the interactive package needed to address the issues of the use of this package by students who had learning problems such as Dyslexia and Dyscalculia.
Initial meeting with colleagues from Information Services probably accounted for 5, one hourly meetings to find common understanding of the needs of the maths group and how this could be translated into an interactive computer package.
Project conclusions and things learned
Overall, the development has taken about two years and initially this involved a half day per week development of content, plus one hour meetings every two weeks. For the last year of the development this time allocation ended up being closer to one day per week, plus the meetings. This additional time was used for; the writing of content, the collection of clinical information and the dissemination of information to the Maths Group.
It is notable here that this time period was very rarely in one session as the collection of information from clinicians and the writing of storyboards was done whenever there were gaps in my other duties, as this still constituted only one small area of my overall responsibilities.
From my point of view, the personal learning during this project revolved around communicating very specific nursing content to individuals whose expertise was Information Technology. For me, what seemed like straight forward nursing practice had to be broken down into very clear definitions of exactly what information the student would require to carry out a certain skill. The amount of side issues that affected this skill had to be limited to prevent the package becoming to complex. This would defeat the whole purpose of the package which was to help students with maths difficulties find a helpful and non-complex path for learning principles. This specificity in content was the most time-consuming element of the project.
However, what became clear was that the design process enabling the interactivity produced an amazingly close representation of the actual hands-on practice that the students would experience in the clinical area.
This project began as a very basic supportive interactive computer package and yet as it developed it was obvious that there were many more aspects which could be included in this package which would make it more beneficial to students with maths difficulties. However, it was necessary to clarify, very precisely the limits of the package and what skills and knowledge were essential to be brought out. This has focussed my attention on the main principle of maths calculations and not on the other aspects of nursing practice in relation to drugs administration.