Teaching health assessment in the virtual classroom

Mary Lashley
Journal of Nursing Education 2005, 44 (8): 348-50
Health assessment skills are vital to professional nursing practice. Health assessment has traditionally been taught using lecture, teacher-developed tests, practice and live demonstration, and interactive and computer-based learning materials. Rapid advances in information technology during the past decade have greatly expanded distance learning options in higher education. Although much nursing education now uses the Internet, there has been limited use of the Web to teach psychomotor and clinical skills. This article describes how online instruction can be integrated into a health assessment course to teach physical examination skills. The development of instructional videos that can be digitally streamed onto the Web for ready and repeated access can also enhance online learning of technical and clinical skills. Student evaluation of this Web-enhanced course revealed that online assignments enabled them to pace their learning, thereby promoting greater flexibility and independence. Students were able to master the technical skills of working online with minimal difficulty and reported that working online was no more stressful than attending class. The most helpful aspect of the online course was the instructor-developed video that was digitally streamed online.

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