The effectiveness of nurses' ability to interpret basic electrocardiogram strips accurately using different learning modalities

J Contin Educ Nurs. 2012 Feb;43(2):81-9. doi: 10.3928/00220124-20111011-02. Epub 2011 Oct 10.


Background: Historically, the instructional method of choice has been traditional lecture or face-to-face education; however, changes in the health care environment, including resource constraints, have necessitated examination of this practice.

Methods: A descriptive pre-/posttest method was used to determine the effectiveness of alternative teaching modalities on nurses' knowledge and confidence in electrocardiogram (EKG) interpretation. A convenience sample of 135 nurses was recruited in an integrated health care system in the Southeastern United States. Nurses attended an instructor-led course, an online learning (e-learning) platform with no study time or 1 week of study time, or an e-learning platform coupled with a 2-hour post-course instructor-facilitated debriefing with no study time or 1 week of study time. Instruments included a confidence scale, an online EKG test, and a course evaluation.

Results: Statistically significant differences in knowledge and confidence were found for individual groups after nurses participated in the intervention. Statistically significant differences were found in pre-knowledge and post-confidence when groups were compared.

Conclusion: Organizations that use various instructional methods to educate nurses in EKG interpretation can use different teaching modalities without negatively affecting nurses' knowledge or confidence in this skill.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Education, Distance / methods*
  • Education, Nursing, Continuing*
  • Electrocardiography / nursing*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Staff / education*
  • Self Efficacy
  • Southeastern United States