Nicole Wynn, DNP, RN-BC, assistant director of a postsurgical inpatient unit at RUMC, and Jennifer Grenier, DNP, RN-BC, CNML, CENP, then director of clinical operations for RUMC’s cardiac service line, used findings from the survey to design educational sessions for nurses. Together they created handouts, flyers, a PowerPoint presentation, videos, a script, and offered educational sessions to prepare nurses to screen for SDOH. one example of an education session is outlined below.
Tailored education on food insecurity
Based on data that revealed a high prevalence of food insecurity among RUMC’s ED patients, Wynn and Grenier created RUMC’s Food Is Medicine Program. The program screens RUMC patients for food insecurity upon admission. In the initial phases of the program, patients who screened positive for food insecurity were provided with food to take home upon discharge and connected with resources to continue to meet their needs.
To prepare nurses to screen for food insecurity, Wynn and Grenier created an education program on food insecurity for three pilot units. The two-part education program informed nurses of the purpose of the Food Is Medicine Program, workflow process changes, screening procedures, and how to develop SDOH conversations with patients.
Part 1: Comprehensive education
Two months before the launch of the Food Is Medicine Program, Wynn and Grenier distributed the comprehensive education material to nurses via email. The material took 15 minutes to review. Nurses could complete the education during a break period, before or after a shift, or during another convenient time. The materials included:
- PowerPoint with information about SDOH
- Brief literature review
- Information about the goal of the Food Is Medicine Program
- Map and video outlining workflow changes for the screening tool
- Script to guide nurses when screening for SDOH needs
Part 2: Demonstration sessions
During shift changes on the pilot units, Wynn and Grenier led 10-minute demonstrations on how to screen for SDOH. These sessions gave nurses hands-on experience with the functionality of the screening tool to promote their comfort and confidence.
Role-playing is a great way to help nurses practice key skills and translate new knowledge into practice. To get nurses comfortable screening for SDOH, consider providing a script and allow time to practice so nurses feel prepared to talk to patients about their SDOH needs. Additionally, consider organizing interdisciplinary role-playing activities that include physicians, social workers, and case managers.