The Effect of Supplemental Podcasts on Test Scores of RN to BSN Research Course Students


Abstract: For over 50 years the profession of nursing has voiced the belief that the level of the Baccalaureate Degree should be required for entry into the practice of professional nursing. Despite the increasing complexity of the healthcare environment through the years, the status quo prevails. In 2010, challenged by the Institute of Medicine to achieve 80% of practicing nurses with a BSN by 2020, institutes of higher education are clamoring to fill the gap between Associate Degree and BSN nurses. ADN and Diploma prepared nurses are lacking in the requisite knowledge, skills, and attitudes in research concepts. The complexity in research methodology and analysis can create difficulty for many students that have traditionally relied on familiar practices. Many practicing nurses are unaware of current research that demonstrates evidence for improving outcomes of care. Cultural-Historical Activity Theory provides a framework wherein teaching strategies are planned through examining the situational aspects of the students’ experiences, as well as the socio-cultural influences of family, career, and advancing technology. Students struggle with competing needs, and spending time studying is often lost in the chaotic milieu. The availability of supplemental Podcasts as a learning strategy, focused on course objectives, has the potential to promote learning through accessibility and portability of the technology. Podcasts can be accessed anytime and place; this feature could promote acquisition of important research concepts needed for evidence based professional practice. A quasi-experimental study was performed with 14 RN to BSN completion program students enrolled in a research course. The experimental group was given a podcast of basic research concepts, with subsequent administration of a test to both groups. Findings were not statistically significant at p ≤ 0.05 level, F(1,12) = 4.118, p = 0.065, η2p = 0.256, Cohen’s d =1.08, r = 0.48. The effect size is large. The survey and focus group results indicated students felt the podcasts increased their learning. Based on the magnitude of the effect size, as well as the supportive results from the survey and focus groups, these results are suggestive of the feasibility of podcasting as an effective teaching strategy. Further research related to podcasting as an effective teaching strategy is recommended.