Sharon Hewner, assistant professor, School of Nursing received UB”s Teaching Innovation Award for 2012 at the Fall Celebration of Faculty and Staff Excellence, held on Oct. 3 in the Center for the Arts.
UB’s Teaching Innovation Award recognizes outstanding achievement in teaching innovation that has had a demonstrable effect on enhancing student-learning outcomes, including innovative uses of educational technology.
Dr. Hewner won the award for her innovative undergraduate leadership course aimed toward increasing the students’ exposure to the nurse’s role in promoting patient safety and quality improvement in the ever-changing, complex healthcare environment of today. This course provides the students with a human touch through the story of a real life experience of a local patient advocate, Mary Brennan Taylor’s mother Alice and her family.
Mary Brennan Taylor came and spoke to the class about her mother’s last 6 weeks of life and described the personal impact of tragic medical errors and unsafe care. After hearing Alice’s story, students asked the question, “How could this have been prevented?” Dr. Hewner’s response was to turn the class in to a student-centered, interactive learning environment. Together teacher and students developed a group simulation of the events depicted in Mary Brennan Taylor’s mothers last weeks of her life. Each group of students examined one of eight points of care and compounding errors which contributed to Alice’s death to determine how they could be prevented. Over a three week period the students contributed to weekly blogs as they examined key issues such as medication use in the elderly, healthcare associated infections, and related legal and ethical issues. The students then reenacted each episode the way it might have been if a culture of safety was in place. Dr. Hewner and Mary Brennan-Taylor guided the students during this transformative experience and guided them in how to communicate more effectively. Finally the student’s summarized what they learned through the analysis of this real case scenario and created posters to illustrate what they had learned. A poster session was opened to the university community as well as family and friends of Mary Brennan-Taylor.
This important innovation has transformed the classroom to an interactive student-centered learning environment that will change forever how students will view safety and quality in the health care environment.
Pictured: Dean Marsha Lewis and Dr. Sharon Hewner at Awards Ceremony