Becky Langner has been a nurse for 34 years — nearly 30 of those here at UAB.
|Becky Langner participated in a nursing mock court session in December and will be featured again during the May 14 session as part of Nursing Week. |
During that time she’s attended numerous continuing education classes, but none compared with the mock court session she participated in this past December.
“This was absolutely the most fun and interesting way I’ve experienced learning in a long time,” says Langner, a staff nurse in Critical Care. “I’m a research buff anyway. This experience was really different, really informative for nurses and really fun.”
UAB nurses have the opportunity to be a part of the same sort of experience Wednesday, May 14 when the Evidence Based Nursing Practice Council hosts another Nursing Mock Court Session in Margaret Cameron Spain Auditorium. The session, part of the annual Nurses Week celebration, will be a repeat of the popular one held in December 2007 during which Langner and fellow nurse David James argued for open visitation in intensive-care units, based on research conducted around the nation.
Other topics argued and discussed included medication errors and wireless technology, such as cell phone use at the bedside. Open ICU visitation and medication errors will be repeated mock court topics.
“These are issues that are very prevalent in nursing,” says Shannon Graham, advanced nursing coordinator and co-founder of the event along with Jody White in UAB Hospital. “The great thing about the Mock Court is that it takes EBP in nursing research and puts it into an easy to understand and fun format for bedside staff nurses. This helps them not be so intimidated when answering a research question.”
Court is in session
The mock court proceedings mimic a real-life courtroom. There are opposing sides, attorneys and witnesses. Additionally, there are a bailiff, court reporter, jury, jury foreman and judge.
Each team has to perform a thorough literature search and be able to defend their view with valid evidence. Witnesses are questioned by attorneys about the research findings. This enabled the nurses to gain an understanding of the levels of scientific research, statistics and its clinical relevance.
The jury deliberates in an open forum and the jury foreman solicits staff nurse thoughts and opinions to reach a verdict. The judge then entertains the verdict and issues orders to change the current standards based on the evidence or support further investigation of the issue via a formal EBP research study.
“To me, it was a very fascinating way to present pertinent information for practice, but in a way that made the learning experience fun,” says Mary Anne Degges, advanced nursing coordinator for Cardiovascular Services. “I think it allowed for open, non-threatening discussions regarding best practices. It was interesting to hear other viewpoints from nurses. I think some people who came in with a particular viewpoint on an issue may have changed their minds. Others were reinforced.
“It was a great way to learn.”
Degges was in the audience for the first mock court, but she has volunteered to sit on a jury for the May 14 session.
“I decided to be more involved this time,” she says.
Another trial in fall
Graham says another mock trial already is in the planning stages for the fall. In fact, Langner is mentoring two other nurses as they prepare to present evidence on a new topic.
Graham hopes the mock trial proves to be an innovative, creative and useful approach to introducing the concepts of evidence-based practice, making it a friendlier topic for nurses.
“It can be difficult to get nurses excited about evidence-based practice because so many nurses are turned off by the idea of research,” Graham says. “Holding a mock court session is an exciting way to promote EBP that engages nurses to understand and utilize the principles of research to both promote change and enhance their practice environments. In the end, that benefits the nurse and their patients.”