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MSN FlexPath

I am on my 5th class of my MSN in Nursing Education with FlexPath! I have 7 more classes to go and have begun getting my practicum set up*. I wanted to go over some things I’ve learned so far in my program!

How to evaluate evidence on a higher level

In each FlexPath assessment I’ve completed, I’ve had to use evidence to support my assertions. However, I’ve quickly realized how much time and effort it takes to find sources that don’t merely get the point across that I desire, but also are reliable. In some cases, it’s taken me just as long to find good evidence as it has to actually write the paper.  During my very first course, I just tried to find a few sources and quickly began writing. Soon thereafter, I noticed that the sources were not reliable and did not fully communicate what I needed to meet my competency. They were simply related to what I wanted to say.  Back to the drawing board I went!

I then changed how I approached writing and allocated a significant amount of time to simply find the sources I needed, rather than focusing all of my efforts on writing. This made me mentally switch gears and reprioritize. Now, I’m not frustrated when I can’t quickly find sources because I realize it is not something that should only take a few minutes.

There is so much research out there and it requires purposeful searching to find what you need. I’ve utilized the librarians at Capella multiple times to aid in my efforts when I was having trouble finding what I needed, and it was pretty seamless.

Using strong evidence to support change

Before starting this MSN FlexPath program, I was unaware of all that goes into initiating change on an organizational level. Throughout some of my program assessments, I’ve had to create various proposals and initiatives. While some interventions and changes sound like a good idea, they are not always all they’re cracked up to be.

For example, when looking to decrease catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs), it sounds like a good idea to screen every person who comes into the hospital with a urinalysis (UA). Easy enough, right? Just grab a UA container and get a specimen on everyone on admission!  Right?  Well… not so much. There is strong evidence to support that this is not associated with lower CAUTI rates.  Many major health organizations in the United States do not practice this screening method because it simply does not provide better outcomes, yet it adds a substantial cost.

Speaking of cost, I’ve also realized how incredibly expensive it is to institute change at the bedside within an organization. I’ve been surprised to learn that many health organizations in the United States have doubts about whether the evidence about the efficacy of this screening method, and they have adopted different approaches to try improving outcomes and lowering costs.

Realization of the behind-the-scenes work

Throughout my FlexPath program and the assessments, I’ve had to look at what my current hospital is doing to address various quality measures and it has been quite eye-opening. As the bedside provider, I’m typically the end-user of changes in practice. What I typically see is how the change is communicated and received, not the work that goes into creating the change in the first place.

In my various program assessments related to this, I’ve had to address how I would communicate my suggested change to the organization. This is something I never thought of before and now I realize how much strategy goes behind communication, why communication fails, and how I receive and interpret it. I had never been in the position of not only doing all of the work behind change, but also planning how to communicate it to the end-user.  I’ve realized that you may have the best initiative or plan ready to go, but if it’s not communicated to the masses in an effective manner, it may not be successful.

What’s next

I was in New Orleans attending the Capella commencement ceremony in March where I got to meet recent graduates along with the very first MSN FlexPath graduate! Check out the conversation I had with her here.

Also, I’ve submitted my paperwork to get my practicum set up, which is the final step in my journey. While I still have 7 classes to go, I have to begin getting those ducks in a row now. I’ve already bought my very first lab coat, so I’m excited to jump in!

Stay tuned for more MSN FlexPath updates or click here learn more about Capella’s FlexPath learning format and nursing degrees.

*Results vary. The typical MSN FlexPath student with an average number of transfer credits completes 1.3 courses per billing session.  Because of insufficient program-level data, the MSN and MEd pace is based on an aggregate of all master’s-level FlexPath students. Data as of March 2017.