Every Nurse’s Business is a Continued Professional Development (CPD) programme and online learning site for Australian Registered Nurses to help build nursing capacity to address the healthcare needs of people with intellectual disability (ID) and/or autism (ASD) in mainstream health settings.
Purpose of the learning site:
- To build capacity for RNs to address the healthcare needs of people with Intellectual Disability (ID) and/or Autism (ASD) in mainstream health settings (including primary health).
Relevance of project to Nurses:
- The health challenges and service needs of people with ID and/or ASD are greater than those without intellectual and developmental disorders.
- People with ID face greater risk for chronic and complex health conditions (epilepsy, hypothyroidism and cardiac issues), greater hospitalisation, readmission and complications following hospitalisation.
- People with ASD have higher health risks across the lifespan including greater risk of mortality, disproportionate levels of chronic illness, and are less likely to receive primary care intervention to mitigate risk.
- As people with ID and/or ASD regularly present in mainstream healthcare settings (including primary health), it is important that RNs feel comfortable and confident when communicating with, and addressing the needs of this cohort.
- There has also been a gap in undergraduate nursing curricula regarding content and clinical placement specific to caring for people with ID/ASD. This free programme helps to supplement this gap.
Background to Every Nurse’s Business:
This research is led by Professor Andrew Cashin at Southern Cross University and supported by Associate Professor Nathan Wilson (University of Western Sydney), Amy Pracilio and Michelle Kersten (Southern Cross University). The research team holds interest in nursing experiences of addressing the healthcare needs of people with ID/ASD and building the capacity of Australian nurses to do so.
The first component of this project involved a survey of Australian Registered Nurses conducted in June, 2020 which identified undergraduate education experiences in terms of formal learning and dedicated practicum that focused on addressing the healthcare needs of people with ID/ASD and related postgraduate education and CPD undertaken. Additionally, RNs were asked about their self-perceived comfort, preparedness, and confidence in addressing the healthcare needs of people with ID/ASD.
Findings from this initial survey, and a scoping review of relevant literature, have informed the development of the online learning curriculum for graduate nurses aimed to promote the capacity of nurses in mainstream hospital and community health services. The curriculum includes foundational learning content distributed through professional nursing bodies in Australia to their membership and the development of a learning site to test foundational knowledge, and house intermediate and advanced curricula.
Structure of the Learning Site:
- Foundation: This is currently a quiz to claim 1 CPD hour following exposure to the foundational learning content through the white labelling phase. This includes a ‘revision’ option which will include a folder holding all previous shared content (one-pagers, tiles, and videos).
- Intermediate: This is separated into 7 learning domains (care imperatives, communication to people with ID/ASD, communication from people with ID/ASD, environments of care, making things go well, supporting positive behaviour, and introduction to the NDIS). This involves blocks of learning and a variety of information, videos, vignettes, interviews, activities, and further reading under the six domains. It also includes a quiz worth 4 hours towards CPD.
- Advanced: This section is completed, and includes interactive content, independent research tasks, and synchronous learning sessions on different topics/areas of practice. Every synchronous learning session is worth 1 hour of CPD.
- Completion of the learning material at the foundational, intermediate, and advanced levels and satisfactory completion of the optional assessment will be deemed to be equivalent to one unit of AQF level 8 postgraduate study. This can be presented to universities to consider for advanced standing.