OpenMoments: The Stories

7 Engaged Education in Nursing

Wendy’s Project

Wendy Garcia, from the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing at Ryerson University, was invited to participate due to her work on the open textbook Vital Sign Measurement Across the Lifespan project. This book was designed to provide a multi-media resource available for all first year nursing students. A primary reason for Wendy in coming to open was to provide students with hands-on readings and videos to prepare them for laboratory simulations and practice. The success of the Vital Signs OER has made Wendy want to include more OER in other courses and other areas.

Coming to Open

Wendy was first interested in the project because it would produce a free resource for students, as well as provide a different type of learning than what was provided by a traditional textbook. When tackling such a large project, every member of the team takes on many roles within the creation of OER. An interdisciplinary team needs a project manager to make sure all the right tasks are getting accomplished by all the right people. Wendy brought a unique perspective to the project not only as an instructor but also as a paediatric nurse. She also had previous experience with simulation development through an interactive game simulation project. This helped prepare her to create the multi-media components required in the project.

“They [were prepared] because they had some opportunity to engage with OER”In the past, the skills taught in the course needed to be demonstrated and assessed all within the same classroom time. Now, students are able to gain knowledge outside of the classroom and then practice the physical skills while getting immediate expert feedback. In her practice, Wendy has seen students arrive to class more prepared and with increased  confidence in their skills. Previously, students would arrive without knowing what the equipment would look like. Perhaps they had heard the words, but they had not been able to see the process, whereas now they have a video and they know exactly what to expect.

“That is what open is supposed to be, available for many different individuals”

Students are able to continually review the material and come back to the resources when they need the refreshers at the end of their program or when they are in clinical practice, removing barriers to learning and relearning. These resources can be continually updated to ensure quality control and up-to-date regulatory information and standards are incorporated. These resources can be easily shared so that all students in a variety of settings can succeed.

Part of the success within the field of nursing has been the visual support that the multi-media Pressbooks is able to provide. Wendy notes that with a generation of students that has grown up plugged in, the video and internet piece provides a level of familiarity and comfort which helps students engage with the material. So far, Wendy has received good feedback from students about the usefulness of the resources. Many students have returned to these resources as they study for their clinical exams at the end of their career, and have been able to share them with other colleagues in the profession.

Learning from Open

Wendy has seen her teaching change because now she uses less class time for demonstration. This means she is able to assist and assess. Students can receive quick immediate feedback. Wendy can use her time engaging with students and correcting them as they practice the practical skills necessary for a nursing career. Research shows that constant and immediate feedback is important for student learning and success. Not only is this more beneficial to the students, Wendy finds it helps her in effectively using her time when teaching. Assessing students takes time, and now she is able to use that time more effectively. Additionally, the students in Year 4 are able to access these materials to help them study for their standardized/clinical exams. Students will always have access to the book, and do not need to worry about needing to sell the book at the end of the semester, or having the material become outdated.

In the Chang School, there is a game that was produced that simulated nursing assessment of paediatric hospital patients. The goal of the game was to assess decision making of students, and help students become comfortable with the role of nurse. Role playing and video games reinforce and reflect what actually occurs in clinical practice. This is an important part of nursing education, but is hard to teach within a lecture.

“It’s not just the teacher that developed the resource that gets published, it brings those students that have been involved in producing the resource into actually writing and publication because that’s what we should do is continue to share what we learned”

Wendy has a well-balanced approach to OER. Student success and financial accessibility are important. Students often avoid paying for textbooks whenever they don’t need to, in fact, Wendy notes that even as faculty sometimes we don’t use the textbooks that we assign .“We are teaching them critical thinking  for practice ”

Wendy hopes that in the future they are able to create cross-disciplinary projects.

Advice for Other Faculty

  • Have a good project manager – they are essential for the success of the project
  • Student engagement and perspectives are incredibly valuable. They provide information on what teaching strategies are effective but also how the student learns and understands  the material
  • Support the students that help with the project by  being a good role model and bring them on board throughout the entire publishing process
  • Give instructors and part time faculty the appropriate time and support to be able to work on these initiatives
  • These projects are big collaborative group efforts.


From Wendy: I am now involved with the development of a second OER for first year nursing students to further develop their assessment skills. I loved participating in the first project and it was exciting to see the students use the resource! The joy of teaching is being fully engaged and excited in what you get to do and the development of OER’s with faculty and students is the cherry on top you wait to enjoy!

Credits: Stethoscope by Arjan Farzkenari from the Noun Project, CC-BY.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Ryerson Open Moments by Erin Meger, Wendy Freeman, Michelle Schwartz, Ann Ludbrook, Maureen Glynn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book