Wednesday, January 16, 2008

E-Learning One Solution to Nursing Shortage

T & D blog linked to my most recent press release about the adaptability of e-learning to the health care field - an adaptation that seems to me to be long past due. Here's my original comment:

When Parade Magazine highlights the nursing shortage, you know the issue has reached popular concern.

Parade Magazine is the supplement that comes in more than 400 Sunday newspapers and contains celebrity news and interviews as well as popular features.

Recently Parade ran an article titled “What’s Behind the Nurse Shortage?” In the one paragraph article Parade quotes Cheryl Peterson of the American Nurses Association citing the trend toward hiring foreign nurses as a poor solution to the problem.

But why is there a nursing shortage in the first place? Nurses make good pay, have their choice of many types of work environments including hours and shifts, and often receive large pay differentials for working the less desirable hours like evenings, nights and weekends. It seems like a good profession, with a fairly quick timeline between starting nursing school and entering a well-paying, high-prestige medical profession.

Here’s the problem, as identified in Parade: not enough schools, instructors, classrooms and training openings. Applicants are being turned away by the thousands (over 42,000 just last year, according to Parade); meanwhile foreign nationals are being hired to fill critical positions in hospitals, nursing homes and home health agencies, often with less than optimal results.

aQuire Training Solutions ( ) has begun developing new programs to address this problem, beginning at the most basic level, the Certified Nursing Assistant.

“So much of education is currently defined by hours in a classroom rather than by knowledge and skills developed,” comments Sharon K. Brothers, MSW, President and CEO of aQuire Training Solutions. “As the shortage of nursing staff increases across the country we will need to be much clearer about the real goals of training, and how to be more efficient – and effective – in training more individuals to be skilled nursing professionals,” says Brothers.

Brothers and her staff at aQuire Training Solutions have begun offering online courses to Certified Nursing Assistants and other caregiver staff and are working hard on developing new courses designed to train more nursing professionals.

“We can train an unlimited number of individuals with the reach of the Internet and the technology for training and testing currently available,” asserts Brothers. “There is absolutely no reason that individuals who have a heart for nursing should be turned down because of a lack of classroom space or instructors.”

Brothers believes that learner-led e-learning can be just as effective as classes taught in the traditional setting. E-learning courses are available over the Internet, and don’t need a classroom, set schedule or physical instructors.

“E-learning today involves the student in a participatory, learner-directed style,” says Brothers. “With e-learning, not only is the student unable to sit passively in the back of a classroom, but the student is also controlling his or her learning completely: the pace of learning, the environment, and the flow of the content.”

New approaches to e-learning include the use of games, real-life scenarios and content designed to grab the emotions of the learner.

“Quickly engaging the emotions of the student is especially important in training people in the field of nursing,” says Brothers. “The best nursing assistants and nurses are those who have made the ‘ah-ha’ leap between nursing knowledge and skills, and the feeling that their work makes a real difference in the lives of the people they care for.”

Brothers predicts that e-learning will rapidly grow as a viable alternative to traditional classroom training, especially for nursing professionals who are becoming increasingly in demand in the U.S.’s aging society.

About aQuire Training Solutions is an e-learning solution to the challenges of providing meaningful training – both initial and ongoing – to senior care providers, particularly those with hands on, direct care responsibilities. aQuire Training staff are senior care and education professionals who have developed online training that incorporates games, scenarios and emotional learning to help build a workforce prepared to meet today’s senior care needs and poised for tomorrow’s avalanche of needs. aQuire Training currently offers a variety of courses including compliance courses, skills training for caring for individuals with memory loss and dementia, and general direct care courses. aQuire Training also develops custom courses to meet the needs of senior care professions or provider companies. aQuire Training staff can be reached toll free at 877-843-8374. Sharon K. Brothers can be reached via email at

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