1. Section Editor(s): Deck, Michele L. MEd, BSN, RN, LCCE, FACCE, Column Editor

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I recently spent some time sharing ideas at a faculty development day with a terrific group of nursing faculty at St. John's College, Springfield, IL. I met Jill Chamberlain and Judy Shackelford and asked them to share one creative teaching idea. Please find their wonderful ideas below.

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By Jill Chamberlain, MS, RN, CNE, Instructor, Department of Nursing, St. John's College, Springfield, IL,


The goal for this active teaching strategy is to give nursing students the opportunity to experience what it may feel like for an elderly client living with a common geriatric challenge such as change of vision or decreased mobility. Similar simulations have been performed throughout the years by educators. However, with this activity, nursing students are encouraged to critically think about the demands elderly clients face and interventions that may be implemented.


Students rotate through stations where a simulation activity is presented. At the end of the activity, nursing students discuss how they felt, what challenges they faced, and what they think older persons would face and then develop strategies that could be implemented to overcome the challenges.


Three inexpensive reading glasses, a telephone book, an empty prescription bottle, and printed pictures of famous people are needed for the vision station.


1. On one pair of glasses, tape the frames with scotch tape (or cover with Vaseline) to simulate cataracts.


2. On one pair of glasses, tape the frames with electrical tape on the sides to block peripheral vision to mimic glaucoma.


3. With the last pair of glasses, tape the frames with electrical tape in the center of the lenses to block central vision to simulate macular degeneration.


4. The students then will place the glasses on and try to locate a telephone number in the telephone book, read a prescription bottle, and then walk around the room (with a "normal-vision" partner) to see if the student can locate and identify the pictures of the famous people.



A wheelchair, a paper cup, a handkerchief, a timer, mittens or work gloves, and individual-size candy are needed for the mobility challenge.


1. In a wheelchair, the student will navigate around the room to collect the paper cup, fill it with water at a nearby sink or water fountain, and then return to the starting point without spilling any of the water. This activity will give the student a glimpse of the difficulty of accomplishing everyday tasks in a wheelchair.


2. With the handkerchief, tie the student's lower legs together so that the student must shuffle to walk. Place the timer on a determined set of time (time taken for normal steps) and have the student stand up from a lying position (if possible) and walk a certain distance before the timer goes off. This activity is to simulate the time challenge of decreased mobility and the embarrassment of an incident of incontinence.


3. While wearing the mittens and gloves, students will try to open packages such as individually wrapped candy. This activity is to simulate the challenge of living with arthritis.




By Judy A. Shackelford, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor, Department of Nursing, St. John's College, Springfield, IL,


Several years ago, the faculty at the Department of Nursing, St. John's College, added a clinical research experience to the leadership/management course to facilitate student development as research consumers. The experience continues to grow each year, not only benefiting student development but also facilitating clinical research and promoting evidenced-based practice for nursing.


Students are assigned 24 hours over a 2-week period to meet with an assigned nursing practitioner and participate in a research activity. The nursing practitioners are from various clinical arenas such as community, private practice, acute care, education, and quality assurance. Students may participate in a variety of ways during the research experience. They may be responsible for doing a literature search, reviewing the literature, collecting data, analyzing results, making a proposal, and so on. The benefit is that it brings research alive for students!


Students learn about research in theory by discussing, reading, and critiquing it. Through the clinical experience, students see the impact of research on practice. Students present a summary of the research and its impact on nursing practice to their peers. The experience deepens the students' appreciation for research in practice and facilitates research being done clinically. Not only do we gain from exposure to evidence-based practice, but students who are future practitioners are also stronger research consumers.


Thanks Jill and Judy for sharing!