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Handling time. Will usually ship within 2 business days of receiving cleared payment - opens in a new window or tab. Taxes may be applicable at checkout. The highest-rated topics were infection control, hospital-acquired infections, and disease transmission; the lowest-rated were microscope use and the Gram stain procedure Fig. While there was slight variation in the mean relevance that different age groups assigned to topics, these differences were not statistically significant.

Relevance of microbiology course topics mean; 1 lowest to 5 highest. Error bars represent the standard error of the mean. Nurses working in hospital settings identified several microbiology course topics as having greater relevance to their practice than nurses working in community settings did. These data generally follow the same pattern as the relevance data, with the highest- and lowest-rated topics remaining the same Fig. The lone exception was collection and handling of specimens, which had a mean CE interest value 3.

Interest in continuing education means; 1 lowest to 5 highest. The high relevance assigned to infection control, hospital-acquired infections, and disease transmission reflects the importance of these topics in patient care. These topics should be strongly emphasized throughout the nursing pre-requisite microbiology course.

We find it concerning that approximately one in four surveyed nurses did not have a microbiology course as part of their nursing education, given that these topics are unlikely to be covered with a microbiology focus in other nursing curriculum courses. The literature has established that nurses need to understand microbiology topics in order to effectively prevent and recognize healthcare-acquired infections 6 , 12 — 15 , 21 , Foundational knowledge of disease transmission and prevention is critical. A large number of nurses are routinely encountering fungal infections.

When we examine the data more closely, we find that the nurses who encounter fungal infections are concentrated in hospital settings, with the majority The covered information should be practical. For example, a microbiology curriculum could discuss why certain antibiotics work against bacteria but not fungi, as well as the association between the turnaround time of fungal culture results and the growth rates of common fungal pathogens.

As the vast majority of nurses However, the Gram stain result is critical to diagnosis, and how to interpret a Gram stain result should still be covered in a nursing prerequisite microbiology course albeit with less emphasis on how to operate a microscope. The ability to match organism morphology to the suspected pathogen s and the subsequent review of the care plan e.

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The relatively low mean relevance rating for molecular testing methods may highlight an opportunity to educate nursing students about how these methods apply to patient care. For example, nurses working in community clinics may not know that a Group B Streptococcus polymerase chain reaction test is far more sensitive and rapid than a traditional culture.

Although molecular test results are generally the responsibility of the physician or nurse practitioner, nurses should know that rapidly identifying a pathogen from a positive blood culture bottle and initiating a proper care intervention can significantly improve patient morbidity and mortality. Some limitations were noted in this study.

Entry-level proficiency, which was not assessed, could impact the relevance assigned to particular topics in less experienced vs. The topics we chose to evaluate for relevance were based on what is currently taught at our institution and on input from nursing and microbiology faculty who were involved in creating the survey; these topics may be less applicable in other settings.

The survey did not limit participants to one submission. However, we believe it is unlikely that participants would have completed the survey multiple times, given the extensive time required and the fact that they were not compensated. Lastly, the design of this survey was already complete at the time the ASM guidelines were published.


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  8. As a result, the topics chosen for this study do not encompass all of the concepts described in those guidelines. Most of the major topics in the present curriculum were viewed as relevant by respondents, so few changes are planned in the topics themselves. However, the emphasis given to different subjects within each major topic will shift Table 5. For example, discussions of diagnostic methods and their applications, and of basic specimen types and collection methods, will be woven through most lectures.

    The comparison of various infection types e. Discussions of infection control will be interspersed throughout the curriculum, to highlight potential sources of healthcare- and community-associated infections.

    Microbiology Essentials

    Instruction on the use of a microscope will decrease, because of its lack of relevance to current nursing practice. Although nurses did not view microbial genetics as particularly relevant, the practical applications of this topic will be emphasized. For example, the course will discuss how organisms can quickly acquire and share antimicrobial resistance via plasmids, and how detection of those mechanisms can result in decreased patient morbidity and mortality.

    Similarly, the nurses did not view microbial cell biology as relevant. This topic will be retained, but with a greater emphasis on how virulence factors impact infection progression and treatment.

    Associated Data

    Details of Gram stain beyond basic theory, interpretation, and application to patient care. Diagnostic testing methods, including basic comparison of methods and introduction to molecular testing methods. Basic antimicrobial resistance development and transmission tie in basic microbial genetics. Discussion on patient education regarding infections and correction of misinformation e.

    In addition to changes based on the survey results, due to increased recognition of its importance, the human microbiome will be discussed along with microorganism characteristics. This will highlight the complexity of humanmicrobe interactions and how various infections are prevented by the microbiome or result from a disruption of it. The results from our study raise the question of whether nursing should have microbiology education guidelines that are distinct from the American Society for Microbiology ASM undergraduate curriculum guidelines While many topics that are relevant to nursing either overlap with or are encompassed by the ASM guidelines, certain areas may need different amounts of attention and detail Table 6.

    This study highlights areas where current curricula may diverge from practice-relevant concepts. Additional work is needed to ensure that educators are able to meet the educational needs of future nursing personnel. Such guidelines could be grounded in the existing ASM curriculum guidelines. There is no microbiology course requirement in the current Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice The only references to infection or infectious disease in this document pertain to infection control and related issues such as antibiotic resistance.

    In a climate where nursing program administrators are facing pressure to reduce the number of required credits in order to reduce costs and accelerate the preparation of nurses, bioscience could be targeted for removal. However, the high relevance of many microbiology topics to the nurses in this study, the continued emergence of infectious disease regionally, nationally, and globally, and the rising challenges associated with fighting infectious disease all indicate that a knowledge of microbiology is essential to nursing.

    We strongly recommend that national curriculum guidelines be more prescriptive regarding bioscience prerequisites, particularly microbiology. The fact that most nurse practitioner programs do not require additional coursework in microbiology makes the microbiology component of the pre-nursing curriculum even more critical, since nurse practitioners are independently diagnosing and treating infectious disease.

    The results from this study offer clear evidence that nursing professionals view a broad range of medical microbiology topics as strongly relevant to nursing practice. Thus, it may be inappropriate to reduce or eliminate microbiology from the core bioscience curricula required of nurses, as some programs have done.

    Covering essential topics such as infection control, healthcare-associated infections, and disease transmission will help prepare nursing professionals to recognize infectious diseases and initiate appropriate patient care interventions. The authors would like to acknowledge the contributions of Alexa R.

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    Brooks to this study. The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. J Microbiol Biol Educ. Published online Sep 1. Robert J. Doig , Rebecca L. Buxton , and JoAnn P. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Phone: E-mail: ude. Received Aug 16; Accepted Jun Published by the American Society for Microbiology. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Associated Data Supplementary Materials Appendix 1: Microbiology education in nursing practice survey.

    Abstract Nurses must have sufficient education and training in microbiology to perform many roles within clinical nursing practice e. METHODS To identify the relevance of current microbiology education to nursing practice, we developed an Internet-based survey in which we asked nurses about their educational background in microbiology and related topics, about their use of microbiology knowledge in their current work, and about the relevance of specific microbiology course topics in the workplace.

    Open in a separate window. Reduce Increase Microscopy principles and use of the microscope Details of Gram stain beyond basic theory, interpretation, and application to patient care Culture identification testing method details e. Basic antimicrobial resistance development and transmission tie in basic microbial genetics Vaccines Infection control and epidemiology Consider Discussion on patient education regarding infections and correction of misinformation e.

    Scientific thinking Epidemics and pandemics E, G H. Laboratory skills Differentiation of normal flora vs. Nurse Educ Today. McVicar A, Clancy J. The biosciences and fitness for practice: a time for review? Br J Nurs. Teaching science content in nursing programs in Australia: a cross-sectional survey of academics. BMC Nurs.

    Davis GM.