Today's nurse faces many challenges in the workplace. Required to keep up in a constantly changing knowledge-based environment, he or she must balance complex professional responsibilities, staffing shortages, and increased acuity among the patient population. Continuing education must, therefore, be highly flexible and responsive to the personal and professional needs of the nurse learner. Technology-supported continuing education is suggested to be an appropriate way of meeting the learning needs of busy working nurses. The Stroke Best Practices for Nursing project used three complementary and integrated educational technologies-a Web-based learning site, Web casting (live and archived), and two-way interactive videoconferencing-to deliver a minicourse focused on best practice stroke care to nurses working in northeastern and northwestern Ontario, a geographical area of approximately 600 km. In total, 96 nurses participated in the educational part of the program; 46 of the 96 (47%) took part in the assessment of the program. On the basis of this assessment strategy and the nurses' requests for other programs that do not use traditional face-to-face classrooms and lecture, the value of using educational technologies in health-based continuing education was strongly identified. This article describes key components of the project and celebrates the partnership among the organizing stakeholders: faculty in the school of nursing at the Laurentian University, the West Greater Toronto Area Stroke Network, and the Ontario Telemedicine Network. The article further describes findings related to the program's impact on participants' perceptions of competence as caregivers for stroke patients, participants' confidence using technology for educational purposes, and participants' satisfaction with the overall program.
Ellen Rukholm, RN PhD FCAHS, is a retired full professor at the School of Nursing, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.
Linda Kelloway, RN MN CNN(c), is a regional stroke educator and research coordinator at the Hamilton Health Sciences, Central South Regional Stroke System, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Question or comments about this article may be directed to Lorraine Carter, PhD MA BEd Hons BA, at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is a professor at the School of Nursing, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.