Does an Online Computer Based Critical Care Orientation Program Support the Learning Needs of a Multigenerational Workforce?
The complexities of today's health care system challenge acute care hospitals to provide comprehensive nursing orientation programs while meeting the needs of a multigenerational workforce. To prepare nurses to provide the highest quality of care for patients, nursing orientation must provide updated content, be cost effective, time sensitive and comprehensive, stimulate critical thinking skills, and include relevant evidence-based knowledge. Although a comprehensive nursing orientation is essential to every area of practice, specialties, such as critical care nursing, require specialized knowledge and additional skill sets that necessitate a more comprehensive training program while being sensitive to the needs of a multigenerational workforce. These considerations produce additional challenges for hospital orientation programs when considering the lack of available educators, projected nursing shortage, limited resources to accommodate multiple learning styles, and the current influence of healthcare economics. In an attempt to address orientation challenges, organizations such as the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) have developed online programs. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate one such program, the AACN Essentials of Critical Care Orientation (ECCO) program. ECCO was evaluated to determine if this online computer based orientation program would support the learning needs of multigenerational critical care nurses. Twenty-one nurses representing four generations of nurses from 11 hospitals in the United States completed an 18 question survey. Although the survey results supported the ECCO program as a useful tool for critical care orientation, the results indicated additional educational methodologies are needed to meet generational learning needs.