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Comprehensive Clinical Care

Position/Job Title

Clinical Educators; Clinical Nurse Specialists


Background: The novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic had a large impact on education in the healthcare setting. At Henry Ford Jackson Hospital (HFJH), due to staffing constraints and emergent clinical needs, nurses hired during the COVID-19 pandemic did not complete standard critical care orientation after March 2020. During yearly learning needs assessments, nurses identified opportunities for enhanced education regarding the management of critically ill patients. Staff Development Educators and Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs) within the acuity adaptable units identified a gap in knowledge regarding critical care concepts. At HFJH, acuity adaptable units house critical care patients on the Medical Universal Bed unit and the Surgical Universal Bed unit.

Aim: The aim of this quality improvement project was to increase novice nurses’ knowledge of critical care concepts while increasing confidence implementing advanced nursing skills within the patient population.

Methods: The Staff Development Educators and CNSs proposed an education program to the nursing leadership and gained support for mandatory attendance. Content was formulated based on input from the interprofessional critical care team and feedback from the nursing learning needs assessments. Nurses caring for the critical care population hired or transferred after March 2020 were required to complete the program. Nurses were given the opportunity to complete and pass a standardized test (score of 80% or higher) in lieu of attending the educational sessions. Three, four-hour sessions were created and included didactic content, simulation with case scenarios, and interactive teaching methods with equipment specific to the intensive care setting. A pre-test was administered prior to content presentation and the post-test was administered at the end of the third session. Nurses completed an evaluation for each didactic content presentation and received continuing education credit.

Findings: The average score for pre-test was 70.7%. The average post-test score was 77.3%. Demonstrating a 6.6% increase following intervention. The results of this quality improvement project indicated that formalized, didactic and simulation education opportunities enhanced the knowledge of critical care concepts for novice nurses. Nurses completed an evaluation for each didactic session with positive feedback and suggestions for additional content.

Implications: Nurses with critical care experience opted to participate in the program to enhance their personal growth and knowledge. Based on the pre-and post-test results, gastrointestinal and parenteral content will be added to future sessions. Tailored education, with a focus on simulation and hands-on content, showed to improve nurses understanding of advanced critical care concepts. These didactic, simulation, and hands-on learning sessions will be integrated into the onboarding orientation for nurses caring for the critical care population.

Publication Date


ICU Made 4 U: Critical Care Education for Novice Nurses