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Keywords

Epilepsy education, nurse practitioners, online education, pediatric epilepsy, physician assistants

 

Authors

  1. Winesett, Steven. Parrish MD, MBA (Associate Professor and Instructor)

Abstract

ABSTRACT: Recent projections suggest that increasing numbers of nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) will be needed to meet the increasing need for pediatric neurology expertise. This pilot study assessed feasibility and preliminary effectiveness of an online curriculum designed to impact knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors of NPs/PAs treating patients with pediatric epilepsy. Ten-session online curriculum was developed using previous experience and published recommendations to improve knowledge, electroencephalogram (EEG) skills, attitudes, and behaviors related to treating patients with pediatric epilepsy. Participants were NPs and PAs recruited from regional pediatric neurology practices. Three successive 10-week courses were provided. Attendance and completion were used to assess feasibility. Knowledge, EEG skills, attitudes, and behaviors were evaluated using pretest versus posttest questionnaires and compared analytically using a paired t-test and McNemar test. Twenty-nine NPs/PAs started the course, with typical attendance ~85%. Twenty-two participants (76%) completed the course. Completers showed significant improvements in medication knowledge (premedication: mean = 74.6, SD = 16.4; postmedication: mean: 88.3, SD = 14.0; p = .001), EEG skills (premedication: mean = 44.8, SD = 24.4; postmedication: mean: 77.3, SD = 19.8; p < .001), and several measures of attitude and behavior. This pilot study shows feasibility and potential educational benefit of a 10-hour online course on pediatric epilepsy and may provide a convenient and effective option for continuing education for hard-to-reach students.