Give Your Graduates a Step Up!
Your nursing program offers best-in-class training for future nurses. When they enter the workforce, you want hospitals and doctors’ offices to know exactly what skills their nurses are bringing.
Let’s look at an example of how this can work.
A Tale of Two Nursing Candidates
Imagine a hospital is hiring a new emergency room nurse. It’s down to two candidates, both with nearly identical work and educational experience. Many hospitals will turn to social media to review additional information and to help make a decision at this point. While doing so and reviewing the two candidates through LinkedIn, the hiring manager sees that in the past years, one of them has earned digital certifications for specialised nursing practices, specialised in a focus area that is valued by the hospital, attended several conferences on the latest advances in critical care, and received badges for doing each of these things.
A rather simple question to ask based on these results is who are you likely to interview first? If you answered Surekha, you just proved that digital micro-credentials work! These digital credentials showcase Surekha’s specialised skills. While Danielle also may have training in these areas, she can’t easily and quickly demonstrate her progress because she doesn’t appear to have received any accreditations.
What Are Micro-Credentials?
Micro-credentials are a representation of a competency or achievement earned through participation, progression, completion, and demonstration of learning. These are created using the Open Badges specification managed and advanced by the IMS Global Learning Consortium. Badges can be verified by the issuing institution and can always be checked to confirm that there is no misrepresentation of a learner’s credentials.
Once created, these badges are issued and can be shared across a variety of platforms—such as portfolios and social media—and with any specific individuals or institutions the owner chooses.
Badges contain various metadata about how the learner achieved the badge, who issued it, and what evidence is available to demonstrate the skill. These are not just stickers for adults but also contain key information about what a learner did to earn this badge, the competency aligned with it, and information on the organisation issuing the badge in order to ascertain its validity.
What Challenges Do Micro-Credentials Solve?
For the Nursing Student:
- Get digital accreditation that you can take with you.
Since open badges can be earned and exported in your digital backpack, you can take them with you for the rest of your life without ever having to worry about where you last put them (as we all inevitably wonder at some point about our paper degrees).
- Provide others with insight into your qualifications and specialties.
Micro-credentials make it easy for you to exhibit any specialised training you received as well as the ongoing professional development you pursue beyond graduation. This is incredibly valuable because as the field of medicine evolves, you can stay current with new training that you can easily demonstrate.
For the Nursing School:
- Help your graduates get top-level jobs.
You provide top-notch training. Using badges as micro-credentials will help the graduates from your school easily communicate exactly what skills they have developed, providing a clear understanding of the value they’ll provide if hired. Micro-credentials will make them stand out from the rest.
- Help create alignment with skills needed in the nursing field for continuous improvement.
As advances are continuously made in medicine, training will constantly evolve. Micro-credentials can be developed as new skills are required from nurses. This creates an opportunity for nursing schools to be on the cutting edge of training future nurses with the skills that are most needed as well as being able to offer continuing education to nurses in the field.
Micro-credentialing has the potential to make your nursing program stand out and help your graduates display their qualifications and specialties in the field. For more information on micro-credentials, consult IMS Global, the consortium responsible for Open Badges stewardship. Their website is a great resource to help you advance your strategy for credentialing! I’ve also found openbadges.org to be a good primer for getting started.
Best of luck with your credentialing strategy, and please share your successes and questions!