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How to Develop an Effective Nursing Course Design


Developing a nursing course design requires an understanding of the fundamental concepts relevant to the changing nursing environment. It is clear from the analysis of the three assignments that the nursing environment has changed due to the changes brought about by technology. In order to develop an effective nursing course design, nursing educators must ensure that technology is made an integral part of the learning process. According to Axley (2008), learners can only be able to use technology in their nursing practices only if they used it in their learning process. In this paper, the researcher will look at how to develop a nursing course design that meets the needs of the current nursing environment.

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In this paper, three assignments have been compiled into a comprehensive document that analyses how to develop an effective nursing course design and effective evaluation methods. It also identifies course teaching and learning activities. Nursing course design should be developed in a way that does not only make it easy for the students to use technology in their nursing practices, but also appreciate its relevance as a way of improving their service delivery. When developing evaluation methods, it is important to appreciate the fact that no single method can be considered to be sufficient when used on its own. The use of multiple methods sometimes may be necessary. It is also important to identify the specific learning activities to make it easy for the educator to identify what has been achieved and what has not been achieved after a given learning process.


In this synthesis project that brings together the three previous assignments, a number of factors come out clearly concerning the issue of developing a nursing course design. These documents show that the role of nurses and the approach they need to take when addressing their duties is slowly changing from what it has been in the past. Technology has become an integral part of nursing activities. However, the traditional nursing course design lays little emphasis on the issue of technology. As shown in the documents compiled in the section below, the first step in reviewing the course designs is to integrate technology into the learning process. The three documents have thoroughly reviewed how learners can be evaluated in order to determine their competencies in using technology in nursing activities. They also define what should be included in the learning activities to achieve the expected results in this new technology-based nursing course design. These documents offer a strong foundation for educators when it comes to developing course designs for nursing students. When used properly, they can help in developing a comprehensive curriculum that is relevant to the current society. The rationale for the choice of course design as presented in the sections below was based on the desire to produce a document that addresses the current concerns in the nursing practice. The design had to demonstrate how nurses can use IT to enhance their tasks. The choice of the design also factored in the diversity among the students, including those with disabilities.


In the current societal setting, the role of nurses is being redesigned. This means that their training methods and the content of their courses should reflect the changes. The use of emerging technology in nursing can no longer be ignored. It should be integrated into the learning system in order to produce technology-capable nursing graduates.

Compilation of Assignments

Nursing Course Design.

Curriculum Development, Assessment, and Evaluation.

First Section

The basis for the objectives

The widespread lack of nursing informatics skills and technological expertise among the nurses has been an area of concern in the healthcare sector (Hamilton-Hill, 2009). Although technologies have reached the healthcare facilities and learning institutions, some nursing professionals and students lack the competencies to use them in a safe, effective and competent manner to deliver healthcare services and education. Apart from possessing excellent nursing skills, nurses should have good technical skills, or at least have basic computer skills for working in the modern healthcare environment (American Nurses Association, 2008). Nurses should possess the ability to protect the patients’ privacy within the electronic health record systems, capture and store the patients’ data in the system effectively, use various software applications in nursing environments, administer medications, and communicate properly through such modes. It is, therefore, imperative for nurse educators to establish nursing informatics competencies for nurses’ roles (Axley, 2008). One effective method of enhancing nursing informatics competencies in the nursing profession is to introduce such courses and topics in nursing curricula (National League for Nursing, 2008).

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Why the course topic was chosen

The course topic chosen for nursing students is an introductory course in Computer Competency. Computer technologies have introduced several methods to teach nursing students and deliver nursing content. According to Hamilton-Hill (2009), technologies have become extensively embedded in modern healthcare systems. These changes have resulted in a greater demand for quality care at affordable prices and accountability in the healthcare sector. It is therefore imperative for nurses and other healthcare professionals to adopt and use various IT systems in their jobs to enhance optimal outcomes for patients and nurses. According to Bassendowski, et al. (2011), the use of IT in healthcare delivery could reduce cases of medical errors. This requires nursing students to have informatics competencies obtained through training (Dykes & Collins, 2013).

Method of content delivery

The course content will be delivered through the traditional mode or online mode for distance learners. The traditional model of content delivery shall be used to facilitate face-to-face interaction with the learners. The course content would be designed to be learner-centered rather than teacher-centered. Students and educators who are not able to conduct classroom learning because of distance or time would be able to use information technologies to connect and overcome such learning barriers (Choi & De Martinis, 2013).

What students will learn and achieve in this course

After completing an introductory course in Computer Competency, nursing students are expected to demonstrate several learning outcomes. First, nursing students are expected to be able to use the information and communication technologies to record and assess patients’ quality of care, promote patients’ education, and care accessibility at any location or time (Bassendowski, et al., 2011). Nursing students must be able to record the patients’ vital signs and other data using clinical information systems (Dowding, Turley, & Garrido, 2011). Nurses may also develop technical aptitude as they handle technical aspects of their jobs. Further training, work experiences, and comprehension of different aspects of the job will ensure that nurses can offer solutions or suggestions to some issues. A course in informatics should prepare nursing students to develop competencies in clinical areas (Dykes & Collins, 2013). Finally, the course topic should also equip the nursing students with interpersonal skills.

Second Section

Computer Competency shall support nurses and patients as they rely on different information technology platforms to process information. This course will aim to introduce the nursing students to the basic informatics concepts used in both personal and professional areas, use various IT platforms to conduct research and apply findings to nursing practices and patient care, promote nurse interaction and socialization with colleagues, apply different methods of content delivery in teaching the nursing students and promote the development of various skills in IT among the nursing students


Given various challenges related to the use of information technologies that current nurses face in their roles, it is imperative for nurse educators to integrate nursing informatics into the nurse curricula. The course topic will prepare students to face the dynamics of a nursing practice environment.

Objectives, competencies, and expectations

The primary objective of this course is to ensure that nursing students possess the necessary skills applicable in nursing practices.

Areas of competencies that will be emphasized include the following:

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  • Skills in using technologies to deliver services to the patients
  • Use of technologies to communicate in different settings
  • Application of IT in enhancing patients’ care outcomes
  • Use of IT in managing patients’ data.


The design of the nursing course topic of Nursing Informatics would ensure that the nursing students are able to offer safe and effective healthcare outcomes and reduce the nurses’ workload and burnouts with the help of IT platforms.

Course Evaluation Methods

NURS: 514 Curriculum Developments, Assessment and Evaluation


According to Redman, Lenburg, and Walker (1999), nurse educators face several challenges. Evaluators should determine the best evaluation methods based on the course’s goals and objectives. It should meet both the expectations of nursing students and nurse educators (Carr, 2002). The most important needs should focus on whether the learners have achieved the intended competencies and whether the learning has resulted in improved performance. Nurse educators can use evaluation outcomes for many purposes, including curricula redesign, collecting data for improving self, and developing teaching portfolios.

Course Evaluation Methods

The primary goal for this course is to ensure that the nursing students possess the necessary skills and competencies applicable in the nursing practices


  • Students shall demonstrate skills in using technologies to deliver services to patients and to communicate in healthcare environments.
  • Review data from different sources and apply the collected data in decision-making
  • Demonstrate an understanding of healthcare terminologies used in the healthcare environments
  • Uphold data integrity, security, confidentiality, ethical standards, regulatory conditions, and the patients’ rights to privacy
  • Use healthcare technologies to address different challenges in the healthcare sector

Competency Performance Assessments (CPAs) and Competency Performance Examinations (CPEs)

CPAs and CPEs are two methods applied to evaluate the nursing students’ competencies and skills. CPAs are applied when evaluating various forms of class tasks that affect the overall grade, including “papers, projects, participation and presentations” (Redman et al., 1999). On the other hand, CPEs are applied in clinical situations to assess clinical outcomes (Redman et al., 1999). Nursing students must demonstrate single, distinct, observable learning outcomes that are compulsory for skills and competencies under evaluation. A nurse educator can only develop critical elements for evaluation within the accepted standards of practice, course objectives, and with the support of evidence-based practices (Redman et al., 1999).

Informatics nursing students will be focused on specific competence and skill outcomes alongside other critical elements required in the course to ensure that they meet the standards of performance expected from the course (Redman et al., 1999). The students may complete various assessment tests of the course. They may have opportunities to use technologies in real hospital settings to demonstrate their knowledge and skills, ask relevant questions, conduct thorough practices, and show their proficiency in priority areas under the course (Dolan, 2003).

Assessment of Competency Learning

This assessment evaluates whether “the training material has been learned and it is best conducted at the individual level” (Carr, 2002). The educator can determine an individual student’s performance with the aim of evaluating the reactions to the course and understanding of materials. It is vital to assess the learners’ reactions to the course because negative reactions could imply poor internalization of course contents and thus less likely to improve their skills and competencies.

Assessment of Competency Application

An educator may use this assessment method to evaluate “Whether the competencies have been applied to improve performance” (Carr, 2002). The method may help the educators to justify their teaching methods, costs, and materials among others. It provides an opportunity to evaluate the performance and propose appropriate changes. Any changes from the learned concepts should be reflected in behavior change, competencies, and skills. Hence, when nursing students demonstrate such improvements, the nurse educator should justify the use of the learning materials and strategies (Yanhua & Watson, 2011). For a clinical setup, a nurse educator can effectively evaluate how the nursing students apply the learned concepts in various clinical situations.

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Methods of collecting assessment data

Course evaluation methods require appropriate ways to obtain the required data. In this regard, various methods of data collection were used. These methods include questionnaires, knowledge reviews, observations, skill gap analysis, and content analysis.


Nursing course evaluation is an important process for both nursing students and nurse educators. Course evaluation outcomes may have serious implications for nursing students, educators, and the institution (Redman et al., 1999). Nurse educators and students can improve their performances based on the evaluation outcomes (Mahara, 1998). Multiple evaluation methods are important in discovering more insights for expanding the possibilities of nursing education.

Course Teaching and Learning Activities

NURS 514 Curriculum Developments, Assessment and Evaluation.

Course Teaching and Learning Activities.


Instructors can use several methods to teach their nursing students and ensure that they grasp the basic nursing concepts. The methods chosen should incorporate the key concerns of the instructor or educator. The diversity of student populations in terms of age, background, and ethnicity informs the methods chosen to teach these students. Kinetic and auditory learners differ from visual learners. Thus, teaching this group of students requires the utilization of strategies that mix these methods.

Problem-Solving Learning

The first strategy is the problem-solving method that provides an effective method for educators to impart knowledge to their students. In this method, the educator provides problems for students to solve using the theories and concepts learned over time. According to Waltz, Jenkins, and Han (2014), the problems that these students are provided with should be related and specific to the objectives of the course. The aim of problem-solving teaching is to transform the physical and logical practices into a form that the students can store in the form of knowledge. According to WHO, this method of teaching aims to ensure that the students master complex knowledge to solve problems in the future (Rahnavard, Nodeh, & Hosseini, 2013).

Group Teaching

In this form of learning, the instructor encourages the students to carry out group work and present their results as a group. Instructors provide activities that the students are required to carry out in groups (Williams, McKenna, French, & Dousek, 2013). While in their respective groups, students are assigned individual tasks that contribute to the overall group activity. These students are assessed in groups; hence, the performance of the individuals in the groups contributes to the combined group performance (Williams, McKenna, French, & Dousek, 2013). The rationale for using group work as a learning method includes the provision of skills that cannot be acquired individually. Weak students learn from their colleagues in the group while strong students polish their skills and improve in areas where they are weak (Callen, Smith, Joyce, Lutz, Brown-Schott, & Block, 2013). In a group setting, learners work in an environment that they like, are familiar with, and with colleagues with whom they can associate (Callen et al., 2013). Students working in groups share responsibilities and results (Williams, McKenna, French, & Dousek, 2013). According to Jackson et al. (2014), working in groups also ensures that students attain self-discipline and a sense of duty.

Problem-Solving Group Learning Method

Instructors and nurse educators can combine group teaching with problem-solving to ensure that their students attain the best clinical skills. In this form of learning, educators get the students to work in groups and provide problems for them to solve. According to Billings and Halstead (2012), students can enrich their skills with the relevant theories and teaching practices. The aim of this form of learning is to encourage problem analysis, cooperation, the relationship between the facts in patient management, problem interpretation, and to ensure that students work more effectively in groups (Billings & Halstead, 2012). The rationale behind the use of a problem-solving group learning method is that students are unable to express their problem-solving skills in individual work. Iwasiw and Goldenberg (2015) state that problem-solving creates challenges that students can relate to within the management of future patients.

The other method of teaching that works in nursing schools is the use of tutorials. In this learning method, an educator can establish some of the challenges that the students have and know them personally (Raurell-Torredà et al., 2015). This method of learning also ensures that the students can know their educators and familiarize themselves with the expectations of these instructors. Role-plays and simulations constitute the other methods important in teaching nursing students. In role-play, students act a part of practice or imitate individuals. The rationale includes that students learn out of the experience and through visualization (Raurell-Torredà et al., 2015).

The last method that may be useful in teaching nursing students is developing games in which, the students are required to participate. Games may be developed for students to ensure that they grasp the important concepts in technology-based nursing care. When developing the games for use as a learning method, educators need to consider the diversities in the group of learners (Iwasiw & Goldenberg, 2015). The rationale behind the use of games as a learning method includes the ability of students to participate actively in these activities.


From the discussion above, it is clear that nurse educators have a variety of methods that they could use to teach their students. These methods chosen should consider diversities in any group of students. Some of the teaching methods discussed include the use of group activities, simulations, role-play, problem-guided learning, and the use of games.


American Nurses Association. (2008). Nursing informatics: Scope and standards of practice. Silver Spring, MD: American Nurses Association.

Axley, L. (2008). The Integration of Technology into Nursing Curricula: Supporting Faculty via the Technology Fellowship Program. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 13(3), 34-78.

Bassendowski, S., Petrucka, P., Breitkreuz, L., Mantesso, J., MacDougall, L., Hanson, B., et al. (2011). Integration of Technology to Support Nursing Practice: A Saskatchewan Initiative. Online Journal of Nursing Informatics, 15(2), 635.

Billings, D., & J, H. (2012). Teaching in nursing: A guide for faculty. St. Louis, Mo.: Saunders/Elsevier.

Callen, B., Smith, C. M., Joyce, B., Lutz, J., Brown-Schott, N., & Block, D. (2013). Teaching/Learning Strategies for the Essentials of Baccalaureate Nursing Education for Entry-Level Community/Public Health Nursing. Public Health Nursing, 30(6), 537-547.

Carr, W. F. (2002). Designing an Effective Training Evaluation Process. Web.

Choi, J., & De Martinis, J. (2013). Nursing informatics competencies: assessment of undergraduate and graduate nursing students. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 22(13-14), 1970–1976.

Dolan, G. (2003). Assessing student nurse clinical competency: will we ever get it right? Journal of Clinical Nursing, 12(1), 132–141. Web.

Dowding, D., Turley, M., & Garrido, T. (2011). The impact of an electronic health record on nurse sensitive patient outcomes: an interrupted time series analysis. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 19(4), 615-620.

Dykes, P., & Collins, S. (2013). Building Linkages between Nursing Care and Improved Patient Outcomes: The Role of Health Information Technology. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 18(3), Manuscript 4.

Hamilton-Hill, S. (2009). Nursing’s Problematic Informatics. Web.

Iwasiw, C., & Goldenberg, D. (2015). Curriculum development in nursing education. Sudbury, Mass.: Jones and Bartlett.

Jackson, D., Hickman, L. D., Power, T., Disler, R., Potgieter, I., Deek, H., & Davidson, P. M. (2014). Small group learning: Graduate health students’ views of challenges and benefits. Contemporary Nurse: A Journal for the Australian Nursing Profession, 48(1), 117-128.

Mahara, M. S. (1998). A perspective on clinical evaluation in nursing education. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 28(6), 1339-1346.

National League for Nursing. (2008). Preparing the Next Generation of Nurses to Practice in a Technology-Rich Environment: An Informatics Agenda. Web.

Rahnavard, Z., Nodeh, Z. H., & Hosseini, L. (2013). Effectiveness of clinical teaching associate model in nursing education: Results from a developing country. Contemporary Nurse: A Journal for the Australian Nursing Profession, 45(2), 174-181.

Randall, V. R. (2010). Learning Domains or Bloom’s Taxonomy. Web.

Raurell-Torredà, M., Olivet-Pujol, J., Romero-Collado, À., Malagon-Aguilera, M. C., Patiño-Masó, J., & Baltasar-Bagué, A. (2015). Case-Based Learning and Simulation: Useful Tools to Enhance Nurses’ Education? Nonrandomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 47(1), 34-42.

Waltz, C. F., Jenkins, L. S., & Han, N. (2014). The Use and Effectiveness of Active Learning Methods in Nursing and Health Professions Education: A Literature Review. Nursing Education Perspectives, 35(6), 392-400.

Williams, B., McKenna, L., French, J., & Dousek, S. (2013). Measurement properties of a peer-teaching scale for nursing education. Nursing & Health Sciences, 15(3), 368-373.

Yanhua, C., & Watson, R. (2011). A review of clinical competence assessment in nursing. Nurse Education Today, 31(8), 832–836.

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