Course Gives Nursing Home Staff Training in Delivering Care during COVID-19

July 6, 2020

A new course created by faculty and staff at the Wegmans School of Nursing is designed to provide direct support staff working with residents of nursing homes with basic training in infectious diseases and how to properly use personal protective equipment (PPE).

A diagram from the COVID-19 course explores the chain of infection.

A diagram from the COVID-19 course explores the chain of infection.

Dr. Beth Kiss, associate professor, and Dr. Jesse Redlo, educational technologist, collaborated to develop the course, which is being offered free to organizations in the Rochester community. The course is composed of four modules and can be completed in under two hours. It is available in both English and Spanish.

The course was the first at Fisher to be designed using Fisher Next, a learning management platform that will house an array of professional development and continuing education programs. The use of Fisher Next, which was built through Thought Industries, was made possible through a Golisano Foundation grant to the Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing.

Kiss, who regularly teaches courses in fundamentals of nursing science and infection prevention, created a case study for the course that follows “Jenny,” a direct support staff member, throughout her day and includes all of the tasks she needs to do to protect herself and her patients. Learning outcomes are embedded in the real life situations that a staff member may encounter while on the job.

One highlight of the modules are videos Kiss created demonstrating the proper use and handling of PPE. The videos are accessible on mobile phones, so support staff can quickly view them while at work or home.

“With COVID, it is a different process and procedure than it is for normal PPE,” explained Kiss. “There are additional things to do to appropriately don and doff PPE, so this is new information we’re sharing.”

Understanding that many direct support staff work full-time and have busy home lives, Redlo leveraged several features and tools that Thought Industries has to offer in designing the course, including the module format and ability to pause progress and jump back into the course as needed.

“The module structure allows the course to be self-paced; there is an idea that when you’re teaching adults, you need to make it self-directed,” said Redlo. “Direct support staff are working full-time so they might be taking it in between patients.”

Redlo gamified several aspects of the modules, including flip cards and matching games, to create visual and audio elements to the engaging course.