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Microbiology Education in Nursing Practice

    Authors: Robert J. Durrant1,*, Alexa K. Doig1, Rebecca L. Buxton1, JoAnn P. Fenn1
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    Affiliations: 1: University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84132
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Received 16 August 2016 Accepted 22 June 2017 Published 01 September 2017
    • ©2017 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology
    • [open-access] This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ and https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode), which grants the public the nonexclusive right to copy, distribute, or display the published work.

    • Supplemental materials available at http://asmscience.org/jmbe
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: University of Utah School of Medicine, Department of Pathology, Medical Laboratory Science Division, 30 N 1900 E RM 5R472A, Salt Lake City, UT 84132. Phone: 801-585-6989. E-mail: robert.durrant@path.utah.edu.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. September 2017 vol. 18 no. 2 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v18i2.1224
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    Abstract:

    Nurses must have sufficient education and training in microbiology to perform many roles within clinical nursing practice (e.g., administering antibiotics, collecting specimens, preparing specimens for transport and delivery, educating patients and families, communicating results to the healthcare team, and developing care plans based on results of microbiology studies and patient immunological status). It is unclear whether the current microbiology courses required of nursing students in the United States focus on the topics that are most relevant to nursing practice. To gauge the relevance of current microbiology education to nursing practice, we created a confidential, web-based survey that asked nurses about their past microbiology education, the types of microbiology specimens they collect, their duties that require knowledge of microbiology, and how frequently they encounter infectious diseases in practice. We used the survey responses to develop data-driven recommendations for educators who teach microbiology to pre-nursing and nursing students.

    Two hundred ninety-six Registered Nurses (RNs) completed the survey. The topics they deemed most relevant to current practice were infection control, hospital-acquired infections, disease transmission, and collection and handling of patient specimens. Topics deemed least relevant were the Gram stain procedure and microscope use. In addition, RNs expressed little interest in molecular testing methods. This may reflect a gap in their understanding of the uses of these tests, which could be bridged in a microbiology course.

    We now have data in support of anecdotal evidence that nurses are most engaged when learning about microbiology topics that have the greatest impact on patient care. Information from this survey will be used to shift the focus of microbiology courses at our university to topics more relevant to nursing practice. Further, these findings may also support an effort to evolve national recommendations for microbiology education in pre-nursing and nursing curricula.

Key Concept Ranking

Upper Respiratory Tract Infections
0.4804773
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References & Citations

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2017-09-01
2017-09-25

Abstract:

Nurses must have sufficient education and training in microbiology to perform many roles within clinical nursing practice (e.g., administering antibiotics, collecting specimens, preparing specimens for transport and delivery, educating patients and families, communicating results to the healthcare team, and developing care plans based on results of microbiology studies and patient immunological status). It is unclear whether the current microbiology courses required of nursing students in the United States focus on the topics that are most relevant to nursing practice. To gauge the relevance of current microbiology education to nursing practice, we created a confidential, web-based survey that asked nurses about their past microbiology education, the types of microbiology specimens they collect, their duties that require knowledge of microbiology, and how frequently they encounter infectious diseases in practice. We used the survey responses to develop data-driven recommendations for educators who teach microbiology to pre-nursing and nursing students.

Two hundred ninety-six Registered Nurses (RNs) completed the survey. The topics they deemed most relevant to current practice were infection control, hospital-acquired infections, disease transmission, and collection and handling of patient specimens. Topics deemed least relevant were the Gram stain procedure and microscope use. In addition, RNs expressed little interest in molecular testing methods. This may reflect a gap in their understanding of the uses of these tests, which could be bridged in a microbiology course.

We now have data in support of anecdotal evidence that nurses are most engaged when learning about microbiology topics that have the greatest impact on patient care. Information from this survey will be used to shift the focus of microbiology courses at our university to topics more relevant to nursing practice. Further, these findings may also support an effort to evolve national recommendations for microbiology education in pre-nursing and nursing curricula.

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Figures

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FIGURE 1

Relevance of microbiology course topics (mean; 1 lowest to 5 highest). Error bars represent the standard error of the mean.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. September 2017 vol. 18 no. 2 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v18i2.1224
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Image of FIGURE 2

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FIGURE 2

Interest in continuing education (means; 1 lowest to 5 highest). Error bars represent the standard error of the mean.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. September 2017 vol. 18 no. 2 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v18i2.1224
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