Zoheb Afzali and Timna de Groot, two fourth-year students Nursing at Inholland Amsterdam, have found an efficient solution for storing and sharing EPA’s: Entrustable Professional Activities. Zoheb: “The quality of care is what matters. That’s what inspired us to come up with the EPA-database.”
Nursing students do many internships. Vital experiences for improving certain competences, learning from experiences and showing growth as a professional. EPA’s are structured descriptions of professional activities within the study programme of nursing. When students prove their competence in executing an EPA, they can add this activity to their own skillset. You could compare it to obtaining a certificate: a signed EPA means that you can carry out that particular skill.
Zoheb: “For example, inserting catheters is an EPA. There are specific steps one must follow. You need to instruct the patient, offer care and work in sterile conditions. Equally important are the checklists. Other examples of EPA’s are providing information for patients, evaluating and reflecting. In the end, it’s all about the entire process of ‘catheter care’.”
Students have complete freedom to choose whichever EPA. Zoheb: “Each nursing student has to develop an EPA during his or her internship. Teachers and departments review these EPA’s, but nothing is done with them afterwards, and that’s a shame. We found a solution for this: creating an online EPA-database.”
Zoheb explains the process. “During their internships, nursing students find out that they have to sign off five EPA’s. They check the databank for their department, such as internal medicine for example. Then follows a list with all EPA’s concerning internal medicine. Students choose among the different EPA’s, such as ‘doctor’s visit’, ‘discharge from hospital’ or ‘catheter care’. Students also have the opportunity to customize an EPA to suit their own needs. Finally, teachers review the EPA’s. Students can easily alter the EPA’s too, and they need to be critical thinkers: when is the EPA created? Is the procedure up to date? If not, students can easily upload updated EPA’s.”
A satisfied Karina Meijers teaches and supervises the two students. “Their project is good and innovative. They’re not used to work with EPA’s, but they still recognize the needs of future care. They see the opportunities and go for it. Time efficiency and proper use of available means is what matters now. It’s great when students use these topics for their final projects, because they can benefit from a strong support network.”
The highest priority right now? Building a database and website. The next step is launching the website within Inholland. Zohab has also already contacted several departments of the Vrije Universisteit Amsterdam (VU). “I noticed that many people are interested in using the database. We have the support, now we need time for its execution. This might actually be another awesome school project!”