We are proud of the accomplishments of our Geriatric Nursing Education Consortium (GNEC). Hartford evaluation grantees Shoshanna Sofaer, DrPH, Amy Shire, MPH, and Jacqueline Fortin, MPA School of Public Affairs, Baruch College published the positive results of an evaluation of GNEC in a brief, “Multiplying Change: Ensuring All Nurses Learn to Care Well for Older Adults.” Click here to read the entire brief in its PDF format, or take a moment to read the Executive Summary, reprinted below.
In 2005, the John A. Hartford Foundation, a leading philanthropy committed to improving the health care of older adults since 1929, made a $2.48 million grant to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to implement the Geriatric Nursing Education Consortium (GNEC). Carried out in collaboration with the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing at New York University College of Nursing, the GNEC project supported the Foundation’s mission by working to achieve the following goals:
- Increase geriatric content in senior-level undergraduate nursing courses;
- Educate faculty at baccalaureate schools of nursing nationwide in both the fundamentals of geriatric nursing and in the use of geriatric curriculum resources;
- Support and empower trained faculty as they champion geriatric education to train colleagues and oversee curriculum revision at their home institutions; and
- Provide faculty with an array of innovative resources to prepare baccalaureate-educated nurses by inculcating them with the expertise, and nurturing their enthusiasm to care for older adults.
Driven by the urgent need to fill a troubling gap in undergraduate nursing education: that only some nursing students had significant exposure to information about the health needs of older adults, GNEC’s core strategy involved reaching out to nursing faculty across the country and offering them a unique series of six Faculty Development Institutes (FDIs) that would enable them to incorporate evidence-based content into a wide range of senior-level nursing courses.
Through attendance at the FDIs, nursing faculty immersed themselves in the content — presented in the form of nine curricular modules — and brought back to their nursing programs both solid resources and a strong commitment to teaching the material. With the support of their deans, the participating faculty were charged to make significant curriculum changes, primarily by infusing evidence-based geriatric nursing knowledge and practice into a wide range of senior-level nursing courses.
This Evaluation Brief has three aims: (1) to document the remarkable success of the GNEC initiative; (2) to encouragenursing faculty and nursing program leaders to take advantage of the resources created for those not able to attend one of the FDIs; and (3) given that older adults are increasingly becoming a significant portion of most nurses’ core responsibility across the health care system, to encourage other funders to build on this strong foundation and ensure that all nursing students graduate with the ability to provide high quality care to older adults.
Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs evaluated the GNEC Project to assess both the process of curriculum change — e.g. “What was the FDI experience like?,” “How did participants assess the curricular modules?,” and “What facilitated or hindered change?” — and the outcomes, particularly, “How many courses were revised or enhanced?” To analyze the project’s results, the evaluation team surveyed FDI participants through an online portal one and then two years after their attendance at an institute. This Brief explores the results of that evaluation in more detail, but it first begins with the bottom line, which is clear, and a cause for celebration.