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Online education service for nurses is launched

MONCTON, N.B. – MedSenses, the brainchild of two nurses with extensive backgrounds in continuing education, is offering a full slate of 12 computer-based, interactive learning modules and online support.

According to the company, extensive expansion is planned for the next 18 months.

The firm’s principals are Trisha Coady, chief executive officer, and Lynn Casey, executive vice-president. “We both have a real passion for learning and nursing,” says Coady. “MedSenses has evolved out of that passion and a sense that there is a real need for continuing nurse education that’s more economical, more engaging and fully accredited. And because it’s computer-based and supported online, we can provide services 24/7 anywhere in the world.”

In surveying the market over the past two years, it became clear that flexibility and the ability to track educational progress were key factors – especially for health systems and other large scale providers. “When a health system sees the cost efficiency and flexibility we can provide,” says Coady, “coupled with the ability to track and manage CE records online for factors like who needs what level of training, it makes for a strong option.”

As nurses who have worked on the frontlines in emergency rooms and critical care units and also spoken with countless nursing vice-presidents and health system administrators about CE challenges, Coady and Casey see the benefits of MedSenses from both perspectives.

“When you look at the nursing profession overall, personnel shortages and day-to-day stress and burnout are issues,” says Casey. “Cost-effective continuing education can help nurses become more effective and motivated. That’s an obvious upside for individual nurses and administrators, and it can also help with attracting and retaining good nurses.”

MedSenses is essentially an educational portal for healthcare providers that includes comprehensive interactive learning both online and on CD. “The CD-ROMs are available so that, even without a high-speed internet connection, anyone with a computer can have easy access to the same information with the same level of visual and interactive richness,” says Coady.

This option is of special interest for rural hospitals and healthcare providers who may not have access to high-speed internet service. “There are tens of thousands of nurses working and living in areas where high-speed connections are either not available or aren’t yet affordable,” says Coady. For them, CD-ROM learning is a great option.”

The firm is based in New Brunswick, where both Casey and Coady have been nurses for more than a decade. Since 2001, they have logged countless hours creating and conducting educational seminars in person across Canada and throughout the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S.

The two, working with a team of writers and designers, are providing learning modules that integrate solid medical and technical information with insight and stories from real-world clinical experiences, as well as original, copyrighted illustrations and graphics. “We are going above and beyond what is typically expected for educational materials,” Casey says. “Making the information come alive with color, interaction and stories is vital to making the process more appealing.”

MedSenses is also geared to handle custom content education and training needs related to specific procedures, new technologies or other topics.

“Let’s say a health system buys into a new level of CAT scan and finds that their nursing staff really needs additional cardiac training,” says Coady. “We can work with the health system and technology maker to develop a unique training module. And because our resources are doing this kind of work every day, our turnaround on custom is very efficient.”

Ultimately, they hope the payoff will be nurses with greater job satisfaction and productivity, attributes that both nursing and hospital administrators can readily endorse.

While the educational components form the web portal’s foundation, MedSenses has been designed to create a nurturing and motivational community for nurses everywhere to share stories, learn and support each other. The site’s community forum, open to all nurses, and a continuing advice-and-support column written by Casey, are two key components of that community.

“Nursing can be a stressful profession in the best of times,” says Coady. “One of our biggest goals in creating MedSenses is to offer a supportive environment that removes intimidation from the learning process. Part of that is using life experiences and humor to lighten the atmosphere.”

And while anyone taking the courses can learn at their chosen pace at anytime, MedSenses participants gain access to an e-mentor or “learning coach” who can provide feedback and answer questions at any time. And one additional advantage online with MedSenses: The instant gratification that comes with immediately printing a CE certificate upon course completion.

MedSenses is currently offering educational components in the areas of neonatal, pediatrics, adult, trauma and transport. The offerings are accredited by the American Nurses Credentialing Center for continuing education credit, and appropriate for nurses new to the profession or transitioning into a new area of care, as well as highly experienced nurses seeking to refresh and update knowledge and skills.

“We’re very excited about the future of MedSenses and gratified with the feedback we’re getting from healthcare professionals, both nurses and administrative folks at every level,” says Coady.