Chemotherapy Biotherapy Certificate Course
ONS Completes Chemo Course Expert Review and Pilot Test in Preparation for December 10 Launch
The Chemotherapy Biotherapy Certificate Course expert review process and pilot testing were completed this week, confirming that the course content is on track.
ONS invited 15 experts (consisting of current chemotherapy course trainers—all ONS members who are oncology certified—as well as experts identified by a group of oncology nurse executives) to review the draft certificate course and provide specific feedback on the following elements.
- Does the course meet the defined goal? Goal was defined as “to provide the learner with information and learning activities to assist in understanding the reasoning, mechanisms of action, side effects, and interventions necessary to best prepare the individual to safely administer chemotherapy and biotherapy and to provide quality care to those receiving these therapies.”
- Are the learning activities effective in reinforcing critical evidence to support the development of habits where the learner is inquisitive, comfortable with discussing evidence, and seeking clinical expertise in their place of work to encourage development of appropriate habits for safe practice and critical thinking?
- Does the course adequately address the four defined learning objectives?
- Discuss commonly used agents, their mechanisms of action, and any unique administration issues.
- Demonstrate knowledge of safety precautions for handling and administering chemotherapeutic and biologic agents.
- Discuss immediate complications of cancer therapy, extravasation, and hypersensitivity and the nursing measures required to prevent or reduce these complications
- Identify evidence-based resources to address systemic side effects of cytotoxic and biotherapeutic agents and the nursing interventions required to manage these complications.
- Is the information presented accurately, without bias, and based on current evidence?
- Are there gaps in content that should be addressed?
Overall feedback has been positive. A few reviewers provided some constructive feedback and suggestions for improvement, and this is being incorporated into the final course content.
Pilot testers represented the intended audience (RNs with a minimum of six months’ oncology experience) and were recruited from learners who had registered for the live, two-day course in October, November, and December. The pilot test offers great insight into the continuing education aspects of the course, including whether it is appropriate for the target audience, whether objectives are attainable after course completion, if course facilitators were knowledgeable and effective, if content was biased in any way, and how long it took the learner to complete the course. Pilot testers provided some recommendations for course improvement, and we are working these comments into the final course content as well.
The item writers are completing their work and will have several forms of the test available for the course launch. This allows ONCC and ONS to offer a robust and effective testing environment with continuous data to evaluate question validity.
With all that said, the course development is progressing and nearing completion. Here are some significant takeaways from work thus far.
- The Chemotherapy Biotherapy Certificate Course will provide 15 contact hours of continuing nursing education and require about 15 hours to complete.
- The learner will have four weeks from the date the course starts to course completion. This will allow learners to complete the course in smaller bites over a longer period of time.
- Learning activities address many different learning styles and effectively aid the learner in meeting their own objectives for taking the course as well as the objectives identified by the course developers.
- Pricing for the course will be as follows.
*One-time, introductory offer
- Institutional bulk discounts are available.
- Initial registration for the course will begin on December 10, 2013. The first course session will begin on January 2, 2014, and weekly start dates will be offered thereafter.
- ONS will honor ONS chemotherapy biotherapy provider cards expiring in 2014 until December 31, 2014.
- The course presents content that is evidence based. Additionally, the course is offered without bias, indicating that there is no promotion of commercial products or services (e.g., medications or diagnostic testing procedures). This is an important aspect of program development and delivery when many products and services are discussed.
Information on procedures to register for the certificate program and receive the discount offered to current cardholders due to renew their ONS chemotherapy biotherapy provider card in either 2014 or 2015 will be shared with members next week.
If you have questions or want further information on the Chemotherapy Biotherapy Certificate Course, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frequently Asked Questions
I'm due to renew in early 2014; when can I register?
Registration for the new Chemotherapy Biotherapy Certificate Course starts December 10, 2013. In many institutions, the chemotherapy provider card has become a symbol of competence in chemotherapy administration, and ONS has received many inquiries from individuals and institutions alike on the status of current cardholders. Be aware that learners cannot be grandfathered into a certificate demonstrating their knowledge in a specialty. The new program will not be a repeat of past programs; therefore, the certificate speaks to knowledge assessed in the new program. Current cardholders eligible for renewal in 2014 and 2015 will need to complete the initial assessment-based certificate program to establish evidence of their baseline specialty knowledge. Because all learners are establishing the certificate for the first time, the 30-day “grace period” for renewing is being waived for earning the initial certificate. Current cardholders due to renew in either 2014 or 2015 can do so at a discounted rate through 12/31/15. There will be no 30-day window of renewal in place for initial participation in the certificate program. Any cardholder can begin registering for the new course anytime once registration opens on December 10, 2013.
The new chemotherapy biotherapy certificate course is a non-degree-granting program that provides instruction and training around a narrow set of knowledge, skills and competencies associated with completion of a process, provision of a service or fulfillment of continuing education requirements. Certificates indicate attainment of knowledge, something which cannot be provided without first establishing that level of knowledge.
How Will the New Course Be Offered and Why?
The ONS Chemotherapy Biotherapy Certificate Course will be offered in an online-only format for two primary reasons.
- The scope and volume of content has become increasingly difficult to cover in its current or similar format.
- Focusing on providing a sound knowledge base via a certificate program, a secure test, and robust test item bank is necessary. Delivering the test online is better.
When considering the move to an online course, ONS evaluated the validity of online education and learning. Significant evidence supports online learning as a sound educational strategy (Ally, 2008; Bradley, 2011; Sitzmann, Kraiger, Stewart, & Wisher, 2006).
Online education can offer a very interactive educational format compared to a live setting, which tends to be more passive. ONS has experienced great success with flexible, self-paced online education programs that allow individuals to set aside time to concentrate on content and reduce distractions, allowing for an ideal adult learning scenario. The flexibility of online learning can be an asset to employers as well, offering them the flexibility to schedule smaller increments of time for completion of an online chemotherapy/biotherapy course instead of scheduling staff to be out of the clinical setting for at least two continuous days for the course.
Converting the current two-day program to an online course opens up educational opportunities to additional nurses. Rural areas of the United States often have difficulty convening enough participants to warrant paying for a trainer’s travel and expenses. Nurses in some states cannot earn contact hours for the two-day course because their board of nursing only recognizes ANCC accreditation for online programs, not face-to-face programs.
Furthermore, nurses outside of the United States, especially those in developing countries with limited educational resources, can also benefit from an online offering and increased learning opportunities. Our online learning management system provides a significant opportunity to support this broad access via content translation.
Why Is the Change to a Certificate Program Needed?
The chemotherapy/biotherapy course and renewal course began in 1998 to provide a standard, comprehensive, ongoing chemotherapy education. Philosophically, the programs were intended to focus on the acquisition of knowledge rather than passing or failing the course or earning a chemotherapy provider card. In actuality, the opposite has been observed. Hence, ONS has continued to evaluate and improve the program over its lifespan.
Chemotherapy and biotherapy agents have changed significantly over the past 20 years. The mechanisms of action, indications for use, side effects, and administration requirements continue to become more complex. The knowledge base for safe handling and administration is likely to continue to grow. This trend translates to including more concepts and content in the chemotherapy/biotherapy programs.
Today, many learners begin the course with more emphasis on passing the test than on learning, and this strategy is in contrast to ONS’s true intention of the course. Furthermore, users and providers have expressed significant frustration with the amount of content covered in the course over the two-day time frame. ONS has received substantial comments and feedback on the evaluations that attendees are not truly learning from the course. Planning teams comprised of ONS chemotherapy/biotherapy trainers have reconstructed the two-day course with the intention of increasing learner involvement and knowledge acquisition; although the redesign has helped, the breadth of content and measurement of knowledge is still a significant challenge in its current format.
Therefore, the move to a self-paced, online, assessment-based certificate program was an important step to take. Upon successful completion of an assessment-based certificate program, users receive a certificate indicating the attainment of knowledge. In comparison, successful completion of the current course indicates attendance at a continuing education program but doesn’t necessarily fully measure attainment of knowledge and course objectives.
Learn more about the difference between certification, a certificate program, and continuing education.
I Already Have a Provider Card.
Can I Be Grandfathered Into the Certificate?
No, learners cannot be grandfathered into a certificate demonstrating their knowledge in a specialty. Current cardholders eligible for renewal in 2014 and 2015 will need to complete the initial assessment-based certificate program at their next renewal to establish evidence of their baseline specialty knowledge. The new program will not be a repeat of past programs; therefore, the certificate speaks to knowledge assessed in the new program.
The new chemotherapy/biotherapy certificate online course is a non-degree granting program that provides instruction and training around a narrow set of knowledge, skills and competencies associated with completion of a process, provision of a service or fulfillment of continuing education requirements. Certificates indicate attainment of knowledge, something which cannot be provided without first establishing that level of knowledge.
Note. Current cardholders who are eligible to renew will receive a reduced rate on the course.
What Is the Cost?
Note. Included in the course price (for both current cardholders and non-cardholders) is an e-book—a $70 value. The course also provides an estimated 20 contact hours.
*One-time, introductory offer
Both audiences will need to initially complete the same course, meaning that current chemotherapy provider card holders eligible for renewal in 2014 and 2015 will need to complete the initial assessment-based certificate program at their next renewal to establish evidence of their baseline specialty knowledge. The new program will not be a repeat of past programs; therefore, the certificate speaks to knowledge assessed in the new program.
However, current cardholders will not have to renew until their current card expires (two years after being awarded the provider card). For example, if you received a provider card in March 2013, you will not need to renew until March 2015. But at your next renewal, you will need to complete the assessment-based certificate program to establish evidence of your baseline specialty knowledge. You will then begin a two-year renewal cycle, when a revised certificate renewal course will be offered.
For those who do not currently hold a chemotherapy provider card, ONS develops the program for RNs with a minimum of six months’ oncology experience who are interested in learning about chemotherapy and biotherapy used to treat cancer, symptom management related to the agents, and safe handling of the agents.
Will Institutional Pricing Be Available?
Yes, ONS will offer pricing options for institutions and employers. The institutional pricing options reflect a per-person cost.
|6–10 Registrants (20% off institutional price)
||11–20 Registrants (25% off institutional price)
||21–49 Registrants (30% off institutional price)
||50–99 Registrants (35% off institutional price)
||100+ Registrants (40% off institutional price)
For questions regarding course pricing, please contact email@example.com.
Do Institutions Have to Register All Attendees at Once to Get the Discount?
To qualify for the institutional pricing discounts listed in the table above, institutions and employers should consider purchasing the quantity they expect to use over a specific time period up front. For example, if you expect to have 15 individuals who will take the renewal course or 10 who will take the course in 2014, you can purchase those amounts up front to receive the respective discount levels. You do not need to enroll everyone right away to receive the discount, but you will need to order the number you need at the time of purchase.
Once you have placed your order, you’ll then receive the appropriate number of course coupons based on the price, quantity, and course(s) you purchased. The individual purchasing the coupons disseminates them through the expiration date for the appropriate individuals to redeem for their respective course once it’s available for registration. Additionally, the purchaser can disseminate coupons for those ready to take the course and earn their provider card
Note. Course coupons will carry an expiration date of 16 months from the date of purchase (or once the course is live if purchased beforehand).
How Long Will the Course Take? How Should I Schedule Staff to Participate?
We expect the course will offer approximately 20 contact hours; therefore, it should take participants approximately 20 hours to complete the course, evaluation, and post-test.
Learning activities will require participants to interact with clinical leaders in their workplace, review treatment regimens and data about side effects managed during therapy, review policies and procedures, and work with other course participants. The course begins with information that helps the learner consider ways to make the most out of the course and reach their own goals for participating in the course. Some activities ask the learner to reflect on experiences and observations; others ask the learner to compare evidence to current practice, policies, and procedures; and others will ask the learner to discuss information from the course with a clinical leader from their place of work.
Participants do not need to collaborate with each other at the same time during the day, so scheduling is less of an issue for peer-to-peer learning in the course. However, please consider scheduling some chunks of time for the course during points when participants will have access to clinical leaders and organizational references. We also discourage learners from attempting to do the entire course at one time and/or right before the course is scheduled to close.
How Often Will the Course Be Offered?
The certificate program will be offered several times each month in 2014, with posted start and end dates. When purchasing the program, you will choose the course in which you want to participate. The number of participants per month is not limited.
Can I Receive the Course Guidelines as a Textbook, not an E-Book?
The e-book is included in the course cost, but you may choose to purchase a paper-based copy of the guidelines at an additional cost. Purchasing the paper copy will not reduce the price of the course. Pricing for the paper-based guidelines has not yet been determined.
What Additional Information Is Available?
All current and upcoming information will be available, including timelines, on the ONS website. We’ll communicate new developments as applicable. If you have additional questions or requests for information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ally, M. (2008). Foundations of educational theory for online learning. In T. Anderson (Ed.), The Theory and Practice of Online Learning (2nd ed., pp. 33–60). Edmonton, AB: AU Press.
Bradley, W.E. (2011). A conceptual framework for the design and evaluation of online learning modules in professional training and academic education in business. The Business Review, Cambridge, 18(1), 20–27.
Sitzmann, T., Kraiger, K., Stewart, D., & Wisher, R. (2006). The comparative effectiveness of web-based and classroom instruction: A meta-analysis. Personnel Psychology, 59, 623–664. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-6570.2006.00049.x