APRNs Learn Hands-on at Pre-session

The number of individuals seeking advanced degrees in nursing has increased exponentially in recent years. So, it’s no surprise ENA has responded to the needs of advanced practice nurses with increased educational programming. This year, Emergency Nursing 2018 offered for the first time an all-day APRN pre-session. The eight-hour Advanced Practice Procedural Skills Lab was designed to demonstrate the risks, benefits, considerations and potential complications of performing skills common to advanced emergency nursing practice and to give participants the opportunity to apply those skills in a hands-on setting.

“Advanced practice is much more than technical skills, and these interactive simulations help APRNs in building the clinical reasoning and diagnostic skills required to deliver safe and effective emergency care,” said Margaret Carman, director of ENA’s Institute of Emergency Nursing Advanced Practice.

The session began with a guide to basic suturing techniques, followed by a refresher on sterile gowning and gloving. Participants then split into groups and began their hands-on practice, rotating between seven stations and performing ear, nose and throat procedures, central line insertion and lumbar puncture—both with ultrasound guidance—advanced airway management and dental procedures. They also took part in two full-scale simulations that included management of a patient in adrenal crisis and a pediatric patient with heat-related illness.

Experts were located at each station to provide instruction, walk participants through the procedure and offer guidance as each person practiced his or her techniques. Activities wrapped up with an introduction to ultrasound—the basic science behind ultrasound images and its uses at the bedside.

Attendees expressed enthusiasm for the hands-on learning opportunities of the pre-session.

“As advanced practice nurses, we are expected to do advanced procedures that are not necessarily part of our basic education,” said Michael Nickerson of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. “It’s nice to be able to come to the session and pick up techniques and best practices. It’s all hands-on, and that’s the best way to learn.”

Alex Swan of Orange County, California, said she is currently in an online program to become a family nurse practitioner, so the experience she gained at the session is invaluable, much more so than any online learning module alone.

“Being in the field is not the time for trial and error,” she said. “In an online program, you don’t get class tutorials. Procedurals are home-taught or learned through YouTube.”

Swan said the all-day session was a way to hear professionals explain their way of performing these skills.

Attendees arrived at the pre-session having already reviewed recorded lecture content, allowing them to have more time for hands-on learning. By reviewing the evidence-based medicine module prior to the conference and taking the provided online quiz, they were also able to receive up to eight hours of CME credit.