Teaching epidemiology: Nursing student achievement in a multi-campus, multi-faculty, distance delivery course

Maria Gilson deValpine, Thomas P. Boudrot, Matthew Jones


Background: A common epidemiology curriculum was developed by a nurse epidemiologist and delivered by generic nursing faculty on 5 campuses of a western U.S. university school of nursing. The objective was to assess whether student achievement would be affected in this multi-campus, multi-faculty, distance delivery common epidemiology course.

Methods: 329 nursing students admitted to 5 campuses of one university were enrolled by cohort in an epidemiology course between 2009 and 2011. 138 students were enrolled by cohort in four courses taught by the nurse epidemiologist who developed the course. The remaining 191 students were divided into sections, enrolled in the common course, and taught by multiple nursing faculty members, variously prepared in the field of public health. Final test score averages were compared between 6 cohorts of students: 1 large set of cohorts taught by the nurse epidemiologist who developed the common course but prior to its implementation, and 5 smaller cohorts of students taught by multiple faculty (including the nurse epidemiologist (author)), at multiple campuses, using identical curriculum.

Results: A moderate, but significant difference in student achievement was noted between the courses taught by the nurse epidemiologist as compared to the other cohorts.

Conclusions: Critical faculty shortages and the need for updated public health nursing education call for innovative teaching approaches. A commonly developed epidemiology course can be delivered at multiple campuses by generic faculty with minor loss of student achievement.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jnep.v4n2p67

Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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