Neonatal Education at Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Improving Education for New Trainees in the Neonatology Department at Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Karen Bruce Wallace & Ana-Paula Correia, with Tamara Wallace and Erin Keels

Nationwide NICU

Neonatal department at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH.


The goal of this project is to design and develop high-quality educational materials and tools that will be used by new trainees within the neonatal orientation and education program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH.


The client is the Neonatal Education unit at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH. I will be reporting to Erin L. Keels, DNP, APRN, NNP-BC and Tamara J. Wallace, NNP, who are the two primary educators for Neonatology. They are responsible for managing the orientation and education of the new trainees in their unit, and also for providing continuing education to nurse practitioners, nurses, and physicians’ assistants. They are exceptionally busy individuals who have clinical duties as well, and they are in need of help in three key areas. Specifically, they have expressed a need for training in the hospitals’ new learning management system, converting their existing paper materials into a format suitable for digital delivery, and, most importantly, redesigning their materials so that they take better advantage of the affordances of the online environment. For this project, Tamara J. Wallace, who is one of the national experts in the field of neonatology, will be acting as the subject matter expert, and providing the content and resources. I will be acting as a consulting instructional designer, and bringing my learning design expertise to make the material more pedagogically effective and engaging.


  • To conduct an analysis of the trainees, clinical leaders, and clinical preceptors, in order to understand their characteristics, needs, and expectations.
  • To design and develop an online training module in Nationwide Children’s Hospitals learning management system, which provides education about new skills and knowledge they would need for the job.
  • To convert six existing paper modules into a digital format suitable for online delivery.
  • To develop training on how to use the hospital’s Learning Management System.

Development Procedures

This project will follow the ADDIE model (Branch, 2009), which is a standard framework used in instructional design projects in all industries.

ADDIE diagram

Figure 1. Diagram of the ADDIE model. Branch, R.M. (2009)

Analyze: The project will begin with an analysis, in order to understand the characteristics, needs, and expectations of the trainees, clinical leaders, and clinical preceptors who will be using the instructional materials and tools. The nurse educators at Nationwide Children’s Hospital will recruit potential participants from the three populations, and the investigators will send them anonymous, online surveys via Qualtrics that they can complete on a voluntary basis. The investigators will compile the responses, examine them for any significant preferences or trends, and release the results in aggregate. The analysis will be used to make design decisions in the next stage.

Design: Based on the results of the analysis, the investigators will design the instructional materials and tools. Working in collaboration with the nurse educators from Nationwide Children’s Hospital, they will identify specific learning objectives, plan lessons and content, select media, and define formative and summative assessment instruments. This material will form a systematic instructional plan.

Develop: The investigators and nurse educators will follow the instructional plan, and develop the educational materials and tools. They will create prototypes of the material and tools, and run a pilot test with a small group of trainees, clinical leaders, and clinical preceptors.

Implement: Following the pilot test, the investigators and nurse educators will revise the educational materials and tools, and then release them to the broader population of trainees, clinical leaders, and clinical preceptors on Nationwide Children Hospital’s learning management system. The investigators will prepare training materials for all of the groups who will use them, and will disseminate them as appropriate.

Evaluation: Evaluation takes place throughout the ADDIE process, particularly during the development stage. Nonetheless, the investigators and nurse educators will conduct a summative evaluation after the first cohort of trainees has used the material, in order to determine their effectiveness. The evaluative instruments will be based on Kirkpatrick & Kirkpatrick’s (1994) Four-Level Training Evaluation Model, which measures four distinct levels of the training:

  1. Reaction: How did trainees respond to and feel about the training?
  2. Learning: How much did trainees’ knowledge increase as a result of the training?
  3. Behavior: How much did trainees change their behavior as a result of the training? How did they apply the training?
  4. Results: How did the training achieve its defined objectives or outcomes?

Works Cited

Branch, R.M. (2009) Instructional Design: The ADDIE Approach. New York: Springer.

Kirkpatrick, D. L., & Kirkpatrick, J. D. (1994) Evaluating Training Programs. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.