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Distance Learning Nursing Refresher: Helping Nurses Reconnect with Healthcare!. 2005 Regional Workshops. Presentation Objectives. The need for nursing refresher courses Refresher student profile Components of a refresher course Our Project’s purpose/goals Current progress of the Project

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presentation objectives
Presentation Objectives
  • The need for nursing refresher courses
  • Refresher student profile
  • Components of a refresher course
  • Our Project’s purpose/goals
  • Current progress of the Project
  • Our Project deliverables
the problem as of spring 2003
The Problem (as of spring 2003)
  • Nursing shortage is at a critical level
  • 65% of all hospital vacancies (AHA)
  • By 2008, another 450,000 nurses may be needed in our country (CNN).
  • Texas - Projected need for 167,580 RNs (26.7% increase in a decade) and 70,210 LVNs (increase of 17.8%) by 2010 (TRC).
  • Austin - Estimated 12.6% vacancy rate for RNs and a 9.4% vacancy rate for LVNs in Central Texas; Austin needs 400 RNs (1/2003, HISC)
where have they gone
Where Have They Gone?
  • Many are retiring (average working nurse is 45 years old, ANCC)
  • Fewer entering nursing (31% decline in those taking the NCLEX-RN from 1995-2002, AACN)
  • Work conditions have worsened
  • Some left to raise families
  • Some left looking for “greener pastures”
  • Inadequate capacity in nursing programs (U.S. nursing schools turned away 18,105 qualified applicants in 2003, AACN)
  • Nursing faculty shortage (median age of nurse faculty is 51.2 years)
one solution
One Solution
  • Re-entry nurses offer a quick way to get skilled nurses back in the clinical setting
  • TX Board of Nurse Examiners (BNE) – recommends that any nurse out of “professional nursing practice” for more than 4 years, take a “refresher” course
re entry student profile
Re-Entry Student Profile
  • Reinstate licensure (will need temporary permit)
  • Out of practice for more than 4 years, but has current license (referred by employer)
  • Required to obtain TX license (foreign or out-of-state)
  • Professional development (change of practice area)
barriers to re entry nurses
Barriers to Re-Entry Nurses
  • Where available, courses are often full
  • Courses are not always available
  • Time – many have to continue working
  • Funding – can be an issue
  • Technology – need to catch up on current technology in practice
  • Fear – believe that they can’t catch up
  • Hospitals – some are hesitant to accept a re-entry nurse for a clinical placement
project partners
Project Partners
  • Funding - two one-year Perkins grants from THECB (total $160,000)
  • Development Group - Austin Comm. College, Collin County Comm. College District, El Paso Comm. College, Midland College, North Harris College, Texas Hospital Association, and STARLINK
project partners continued
Project Partners (continued)
  • Advisory Group – Angelina College, Houston Comm. College, Lee College, McLennan Comm. College, St. Philip’s College, San Antonio College, Tarrant County College – South, and University Health System – San Antonio
  • Guidance - Texas State Leadership Consortium for Curriculum Development
project web site
Project Web Site



  • All project development information
  • Portal to BlackBoard
  • Student information & forms
  • Preceptor information & forms
  • College information & forms
demo of project web site
Demo of Project Web Site


a typical refresher course




112 hours

72 hours



Review of basic med/surg nursing knowledge & skills

RN supervised patient care experience


A Typical Refresher Course
project goals year 1 2003 2004
Project Goals (Year 1 – 2003-2004)
  • Provide a distance learning nursing refresher, delivered through the Virtual College of TX.
  • Develop a quality course that addresses the education needs of both the RN and LVN.
  • Develop flexible, effective and appropriate distance learning deliverables to make the nursing refresher course easily accessible.
  • Promote the use of the distance learning nursing refresher course through community colleges around the state of Texas.
project goals year 2 2004 2005
Project Goals (Year 2 – 2004-2005)
  • Enhancement of current teaching units
  • Support for host/provider colleges (through regional information workshops)
  • Add medical Spanish unit and a student counseling/support module
  • Promotional activities including a second STARLINK broadcast
  • Maintenance of project web site
  • Packaging and marketing of stand-alone modules for remediation and CNE use
  • Research project to identify motivating factors in re-entry nurses
features of the program
Features of the Program
  • Colleges can choose to either “host” students through VCT or “provide” the complete course
  • All didactic self-paced content available online - text, graphics, streaming video, exercises, testing, and support from Instructor
  • CD-ROM version of videos for those without high speed internet access
  • Host college will coordinate optional “skills lab” and required “preceptorship”
  • Technical support available for colleges
  • Self-sustaining after grant period
program design development
Program Design & Development
  • Surveyed all existing community college based refresher programs
  • Followed BNE and BVNE (now one entity) expectations for refresher content
  • Examined experience with ACC’s classroom based course
  • Involved Development and Advisory Group members in peer review of content
program content
Program Content
  • Orientation (specific to provider)
  • Unit 1- Professional Nursing Practice
  • Unit 2- Pharmacology Review
  • Unit 3- Systems Review and Nursing Care of Common Disorders
  • Unit 4- Care of the Client
  • Unit 5- IV Therapy
  • Unit 6- Communication & Documentation
  • Unit 7: Care of the Terminally Ill
demo of blackboard course
Demo of BlackBoard Course


Depending on the course delivery system used (i.e. Web CT), the course layout may appear different from this demo.

virtual college of texas vct




Virtual College of Texas (VCT)
  • makes reservation
  • registers student
  • provides certificate & transcripts
  • pays provider
  • “owns” course
  • teaches course
  • documents student’s completion
  • is a “utility” of TX colleges
  • online catalog/schedule
  • student tracking
host provider model vct




Host/Provider Model (VCT)

As a Host

(with ACC providing)

As a Provider

(without ACC)

host colleges duties
Host Colleges Duties
  • Market program to your student population
  • Register and transcript your students
  • Identify healthcare facility sites for preceptorship placements
  • Develop affiliated agreements with chosen healthcare facilities
  • Identify potential preceptors (if asked by facility to assist)
  • Offer preceptor orientation and training
  • Provide Coordinator/Instructor position to manage preceptorship
  • Provide the optional skills lab (facilities & supplies)
  • Provide desk copies of the required texts in your library
  • Utilize the Project website as your delivery manual
  • Provide certificate of completion for students
  • Ensure that any BNE paperwork is completed for the student by an RN
provider colleges duties includes all host duties plus the following
Provider Colleges Duties(includes all Host Duties plus the following)
  • Manage the entire program
  • Obtain and “install” the online program at your college
  • Create an orientation unit specific for your students
  • Provide an Instructor/Coordinator to teach the online didactic content (RN required, BSN preferred)
  • Provide an Instructor/Coordinator to teach the optional skills lab (RN required)
  • Provide an Instructor/Coordinator to coordinate clinical preceptorships
  • Provide the optional skills lab (facilities & supplies)
  • Tailor the delivery manual specific to your college (student requirements, forms, checklists, clinical time logs, etc.)
  • Maintain all records and documentation of student completion.
program challenges
Program Challenges
  • Deciding to Host or Provide the Program
  • Identifying Instructor/Coordinator
  • Setting up optional skills lab
  • Establishing clinical placements
  • Training preceptors
  • Establishing affiliation agreements
we would like to thank
We would like to thank …
  • Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board / Perkins Funding
  • Texas State Leadership Consortium for Curriculum Development
  • Project Development & Advisory Group Members
  • Our 8 Pilot Students
project contacts
Project Contacts

Kirk White, RN, MSN

Executive Director

ACC Workforce Development Center

512-223-7535, kwhite@austincc.edu