Amplify expertise – St. Elizabeth Healthcare

Effective cardiac care nurse education developed, delivered during global pandemic

A staff member at St. Elizabeth Healthcare teaches students how to care for a patient.

Member: St. Elizabeth Healthcare, Edgewood, Kentucky

Clinical education is an ongoing endeavor in the health care world. During a global pandemic, when staff is pushed to exhaustion, finding an innovative way to refresh and introduce nursing skills is an added challenge. Two cardiac care clinical education specialists at St. Elizabeth Health Care, located in Edgewood, Kentucky, rose to the challenge successfully.

"Several new physicians joined the cardiac surgery team who wanted us to take a deeper dive into cardiac care and elevate our nursing practices," says Kelsey Webster, M.S.N., C.C.R.N., cardiac services, St. Elizabeth Healthcare. "I think it's common for nurses to get bored hearing from the same clinical educators in a classroom setting, so we knew that we needed a different approach to increase nurse engagement. As we began planning, the COVID-19 pandemic started, forcing us to cancel in-person educational offerings. We needed to pivot."

Training convenient for staff

Webster and her colleague, Danielle Weiss, M.S.N, C.M.S.R.N., decided to tap into Health Care Consulting, a service offered to St. Elizabeth through its Mayo Clinic Care Network membership. "We had a list of potential training topics received from one of our cardiothoracic surgeons as a foundation," says Weiss. "We asked our nursing staff for input on topics they were interested in, reviewed our needs assessments from past skills fairs and then finalized a list to discuss with the Mayo Clinic team."

A series of meetings with several Mayo Clinic subject matter experts took place, resulting in an online curriculum containing six modules. Topics included a cardiac overview on heart failure, chest tube management, pacemaker therapy, left ventricular assist devices (LVADs), extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and pericardial decompression syndrome.

"Initially, we thought we'd only invite cardiac care nurses to participate," says Webster, "But quickly we saw that the training would be beneficial to all of our nursing units. As an added benefit, continuing education credits were offered. We were excited that the curriculum could be used more broadly, and the nurses could pace themselves and complete the training when convenient for them."

Overwhelmingly popular curriculum

Weiss adds, "Training we've done over the years was not as interactive or allowed staff to ask questions or go back and review the content. The training Mayo developed explained some of the more complex topics in an engaging and intuitive way, which supports learning and retention. We also saw a significantly higher than usual completion rate for this curriculum, and the evaluations were overwhelmingly positive."

Evaluations confirmed the course was highly attended, reaching 204 learners, and receiving overwhelmingly positive responses from the students and nursing leaders, with 92.6% rating the course as excellent or good.

"We definitely got what we wanted and were grateful to be able to work closely with Mayo Clinic to develop a new approach," says Webster. "We had done all we could do for our education specialists. Having someone else present the content was refreshing for the staff. We'd rate it a 10!"