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Keywords

Continuing education, COVID-19, emergency care, nurse practitioners, primary health care

 

Authors

  1. Roberts, Eve N. MSN, APRN, FNP-BC (Director of Education)

Abstract

ABSTRACT: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a rapidly shifting health care environment, with frequent changes to best practices, which can lead to knowledge and practice gaps among health care providers, including nurse practitioners (NPs). The purpose of this paper was to describe a continuing education (CE) program developed to address COVID-19 knowledge gaps and to report on the changes in knowledge, competence, and confidence following program completion. The CE program was a 2.5 to 2.67 contact hour webinar delivered in July 2020, October 2020, and February 2021. Content included COVID-19 prevention, diagnosis, and management and was updated before the second and third webinars. Changes in content and webinar audience participation in the question and answer portion were reflected in the CE credit awarded. Preactivity and postactivity knowledge, competence, and confidence levels were assessed among activity completers. Changes between the preactivity and postactivity evaluation were compared. A total of 2,901 learners were included in the analysis, of whom 91.6% were NPs. Overall, baseline knowledge of COVID-19 transmission, diagnosis, and treatment was low. Substantial improvements in knowledge, competence, and confidence were reported from baseline to postactivity evaluation, with increases of 47-73% overall. Furthermore, learner confidence in identifying patients at risk for severe COVID-19 and counseling patients on prevention and transmission significantly increased. Despite plans to implement strategies to improve COVID-19 management, several barriers to uptake were identified. The rapid development of a COVID-19 CE program resulted in substantial gains in NP knowledge related to prevention, diagnosis, and management, with possible implications for nearly 68,000 patient encounters per month.