Significance and background: Our comprehensive cancer center places a priority on professional and educational development of our nurses. Our nurses are encouraged to continue their education and improve their leadership skills through the clinical ladder program. Nurses complete activities to meet and maintain clinical ladder status. Involvement in a journal club as either a coordinator or a participant is one of these activities. Having the opportunity to participate in a journal club is significant because the critical appraisal and use of evidence in practice is the foundation for safe nursing practice. One route to using evidence in practice is reading and critiquing literature using a journal club format.
Purpose: Research supports participating in journal clubs promotes quality patient care through appraisal of current evidence for practice, sharing best practices, and building professional relationships. Coordinating a journal club discussion enhances professional development through development of leadership skills.
Our ambulatory nurses work in geographically separated, oncology disease line-specific units. The nurses expressed difficulty finding time during busy clinic days to meet for journal club. They also expressed a desire to have more interaction with their peers on other units to learn from each other’s solutions to common problems, share identified best practices, and advance their knowledge of other disease lines. Creating an asynchronous journal club allowed the nurses to participate at a time that is convenient for them with nurses from other units.
Challenges and resolutions: The first challenge was building a website to house the online journal club that functioned on a computer, tablet, or phone satisfying the accessibility request of the nurses. The site also needed to have access limited to only individuals invited to participate.
The second challenge was to ensure our institution’s clinical ladder requirements would be fulfilled by an online journal club and then post them on the website for reference. A clinical ladder handbook link was added to facilitate location of additional activities.
To encourage professional development, nurses in the coordinator role were empowered to lead the discussion on articles that they found and posted independently. A tutorial section was added to the website including links to instructions on searching for evidence, posting a journal article or discussion questions, and replying to participants’ posts. An article describing how to effectively lead online discussions was also posted.
The final step to orient nurses was instruction on how to substantively respond to their peers to advance the discussion. The first article posted for journal club discussion described tactics for successful collaborative learning in the online environment to develop relationships and facilitate knowledge creation.
Results: The nurses expressed excitement about participating in the online journal club. The percentage of nurses participating in journal club has increased. Interviews with the nurses verified the online journal club successfully met their stated needs. Nurses report improved opportunity to participate in the journal club, increased networking with nurses from other units, and satisfying shared learning.