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Why Online IV Education and IV Certification Beats Traditional Classroom Education

The concept of online IV education and IV certification is new to many, with the first response usually being “How can you learn to start an IV online?”  In reality there is much to learn before the actual insertion of a catheter. There are many principles and concepts that a nurse must understand and have complete knowledge of before practicing any infusion therapy; it is these principles of infusion theory and concepts that are taught within Pedagogy’s online IV education courses.  This is what we call the didactic portion of infusion education that is easily and more efficiently presented in an online format.  The nurse must completely understand the local and systemic complications that could happen with infusion therapy and the steps to correct these issues for the best patient outcomes.  This didactic education is thoroughly, consistently and easily presented online, with knowledge retention and understanding of these concepts being validated by a successful exam score.

The Problems with Traditional Classroom IV Education

I taught traditional classroom IV education for many years to long term care professionals, skilled nursing facilities, and hospice nurses.  The typical issues that we encountered with the traditional classroom presentation of infusion education and IV “Certification” were; having enough nurses to warrant an onsite IV course and having enough nurses to “cover” the floor and provide adequate resident care. When the obstacles of hosting an onsite course could be overcome, there were still issues of the physical set-up of the course. Frequently with onsite education, the class was interrupted with everyday activities, the room was cramped, physically uncomfortable, a room that was often open and very noisy, and resident “guests” would show up. Although the encounters with the residents were usually enjoyable, it was a disruption to learning.  I could usually elicit a very quick exit on behalf of the resident when I exclaimed I was so glad they arrived because we needed IV insertion practice volunteers!!

Whether the IV education was presented onsite or offsite facility problems arose.  Having everyone arrive on time to an onsite or offsite IV education course was always a challenge; whether it was traffic delays, detours, an accident, sick kids, overslept or “I forgot”, there was never a class that had everyone in one place at one time and on time.  Keeping the “students” in place for the allotted amount of time for the course was always a challenge as invariably there were husbands that needed picking up, kids that needed transport to an activity, a doctor’s appointment, or some other emergency that necessitated an early departure.  Do I need to point out this does not foster optimal learning, when it is necessary for a nurse to miss part of the presentation?  With online education the course can be started and stopped as many times as necessary to accommodate the very busy schedules of today.

The learning styles of nurses vary from person-to-person, no one learns exactly the same way. Traditional classroom education mandates that everyone be taught with the same style and same pace.  This type of education cannot vary according to personal needs.  With online education you can begin the course at the time that you are most alert and learn the best.  For day shift nurses this may be very early in the morning, but guaranteed for the night shift nurse that is used to sleeping in the morning, the best time is NOT the morning hours.  I always felt so sorry for the nightshift nurse that completed his/her shift and was then mandated to attend an IV course. The nurse struggled through the entire class to stay alert, remain awake and actually retain the information.  No doubt very little learning occurred for these nurses, and it was a waste of the facility and nurse’s time, money and effort.   I will never forget the time a class was brought to a complete halt with the outbreak of laughter as one night nurse succumbed to sleep and was snoring ridiculously loud!  Despite the copious amounts of coffee and EXCITING presentation of the pH and osmolality of IV solutions- he just could not remain awake!

Each of us have a varying amount of education and experience with regard to infusion.  For those with little experience in IV therapy, often the pace of the course was too accelerated for them to comprehend or understand completely.  Their need to ask more questions and their need for a more detailed explanation often hindered other more advanced nurses and slowed down the class pace.  With Pedagogy online education, the nurse may read sections of the course to facilitate understanding; they may direct questions to the instructor using our online chat or our online help desk just as they would be able to in a traditional classroom setting. Built in to every Pedagogy course is the ability to “drill down” into areas that need additional clarification. We build in to all courses videos and an online dictionary and encyclopedia that contain additional definitions and explanations of infusion definitions and concepts.  Many nurses prefer to read a course, but often for the auditory learner, to hear and see a course is crucial to their particular learning style.  Pedagogy courses feature an online “reader” capability to accommodate these auditory learners.  For the visual learner the courses are packed with illustrations and videos to enhance their understanding of infusion concepts.

We realize that infusion therapy is not complete without a hand-on component, and most state boards do require that the employer deem their nurses competent by a skills validation.  Each Pedagogy course has a skill validation checklist at the end of the course to be used by a preceptor or staff educator to perform the skill practice and validation.  In our “train the trainer” educational  concept, we suggest that the facilities  preceptor complete the education, so the preceptor  is current in their knowledge and infusion concepts and can perform the skill validations with ease and confidence.  Our skills validation checklist is a guide for the preceptor on the key components to observe with staff for during skill “check-off”.

Many years ago, a fellow infusion nurse showed me a really awesome “method” of practicing peripheral IV catheter insertions.  Once I learned this sort of “goofy” method of catheter insertion practice, I honestly NEVER used a mannequin arm again. She taught me a method of making a practice “balloon hand” using 2 balloons and a glove.  On the Pedagogy website, we have put together a slide presentation to show you how to make this balloon hand, to practice catheter insertions as well as do your skills validations.  You can view the slide show here:

"How to Create the Pedagogy Hand"

In class, I had nurses “construct” their own balloon hand to practice with.  Usually this task was met with enjoyment from the break of lecturing and in the fun of watching everyone blow up the balloons.  With the balloon hand the nurses are able to prep the “skin” and practice the catheter insertion just like they would on a “real” patient.  Most commented that it was so much more lifelike than the typical hard mannequin. Invariably a nurse would puncture the back side of the “vein” balloon as they “blew the vein”, the round balloon would “POP”.  This typically was a very quick teaching mechanism to lower the insertion angel and the correct methods of catheter advancement!    I also had the nurse’s partner with another nurse to do some “real” vein palpation and assessment.  I had them verbalize to me what vein they would choose to start an IV in their partner.  This usually allowed for “teaching moments” and with some choices I would point out why that would not be the choice I would make and why.   All of these “hands on” techniques can easily be replicated with your on-site educator, after everyone has completed the didactic (online) portion of education,  allowing  the facility to concentrate only on the skill validation. 

Often the pricing of traditional classroom education “appears” to be better,  but what many facilities failed to account for was they had to cover the cost of the course for the nurse, the nurses wages for the time he/she spent attending the course, and staff wages for an additional nurse to cover resident care in his/her absence.  Many times facilities were also paying travel costs that may have included gas, mileage, hotel, and food expenses.

With Pedagogy’s online IV education, nurses can complete the course in intervals that suits their schedule.  Many facilities allow the nurses to complete the education in the comfort of their own home, at their own pace, and according to how they learn best.  The nurses usually appreciate this freedom of having the opportunity to complete their IV education in their pajama’s on a Saturday morning, or whenever it is convenient to their schedule!

I must admit, 3 years ago when my IT husband suggested that IV education should be presented in an online format, my first reaction was “IV Education is just not done that way”, then after careful thought I came to the conclusion that many of the frustrations and problems with presenting traditional classroom education could most certainly be overcome through online education.  The rest they say is history, and Pedagogy Inc. was born. 

We invite you to take a look at our infusion education and consider; is the current way you are obtaining IV education and certification the best option for the nurse or the facility?  Online education steps are easy.  Call us with your facility information, how many nurses need education, pay the invoice by check or credit card, and we take care of the rest.  Your facility will be set up with a use of our Learning Management System that allows you to track the progress of your nurse’s education, set a deadline for online course completion, and set a date for skill validations and hands on practice within your facility to be completed by your staff educator. Nurses are able to print their certificates of completion with successful exam scores of 80% or better.  It really is that simple.

Give us a call at 903-871-2150 or email us at sales@pedagogy-inc.com, to provide your nurses with a better way to learn. 

Pedagogy blog written by Capra Dalton, RN. Capra Dalton is our CEO and author of Pedagogy online continuing education courses.

Capra Dalton, Registered Nurse, has more than 26 years of experience in infusion therapy and the instruction of licensed nurses in infusion therapy continuing education. Her experience comes from multiple infusion settings: acute care, ambulatory infusion centers, home infusion, long term care continuing education provider, and long term care pharmacy quality assurance consultant.

As the CEO, Capra is responsible for all operational aspects of Pedagogy, including education course content, author recruitment, and management. She is a member of the Infusion Nurses Society (INS), the National Association for Practical Nurse Education and Services (NAPNES), and the Council of Practical Nurse Educators (COPNE), and presented at a recent Texas Health Care Association convention on “Nurses Meeting the Changing Needs of LTC Residents - IV’s and PICC Lines.” Capra received her nursing education from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas.

Posted: 8/12/2013 4:50:11 PM
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