Friday, January 16, 2015

Teaching idea: Spelling for Nursing and Allied Health Students

It may sound silly, but how many instructors have gotten charts/assignments/etc. from Nursing and Allied Health students that are just plain unreadable? The student may understand everything there is to know about cleaning wounds, taking precautions with patients on blood thinners and how to properly bathe an elderly patient, but they still can't spell ostomy or Coumadin or sputum. 

We, of course, don't have time to teach spelling and penmanship. However, there are a few easy activities to do with students to help reinforce those skills. 

1) Using an Academic EHR System like EHR Tutor, edit a Provider's notes to include spelling and terminology errors. Have the student review those notes in the beginning of class (or during a slow Friday) and have them record any errors. To make the activity more interactive, hand out candy or a bonus point to students who find all errors first. 

2) Don't be afraid to have students record narrative notes! We know that most charting has moved to drop down menus and multiple select fields, but we need to make sure our students are still aware of what's included in a head-to-toe assessment, not just how to choose the best item from a menu in an EHR. Because of that, we made sure to include a "Nursing Notes" section in EHR Tutor. The first few times your students practice doing assessments, have them complete the assessment in the Nursing Note section by writing in the information themselves. Then, once students have successfully completed 2-3 narrative assessments without spelling, grammatical or terminology errors, they can "graduate" to standard flowsheet charting. That way, we know the students have good roots before building on those basics.