American Society of Ophthalmic Registered Nurses (ASORN)

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ASORN will develop a program that will provide the ophthalmic nurse with the necessary tools and training to begin and continue a support group for low vision patients. This effort will be a dynamic, ongoing process of exchange of ideas and information between the nurse leader and ASORN, utilizing the regional ASORN chapters as a network of communication to educate nurses and to implement the pilot study of the support group kit. The program will have several phases:

  1. Development of a portable kit a nurse would use to competently begin a support group in his/her practice setting. Examples of items included in this kit are: low vision resource book, small group dynamics book, audiotapes from the Wilmer AMD support groups, videos of AMD disease information, aging issues of the AMD patient, videos on low vision rehabilitation, advice on support group meeting details such as topic/ speaker suggestions, format, advertisement, forms needed, suggested support personnel. Alternative ways to educate low vision groups will be addressed through the use of large print publications, web pages and computer software.
  2. Presentation of the kit to ophthalmic nurses at the annual meeting of ASORN in the fall of 2004. This will provide an ideal forum for a didactic class outlining the needs and special interests of the low vision patient. This workshop will address the theory and rationale for the support group approach, the role of the ophthalmologic nurse, and the emotional stages of adjusting to AMD. Hands-on training exercises, role-playing experiences and the support group kit will be discussed in detail. The purpose of this workshop is to provide the information and structure for the nurse to replicate the support group model.
  3. Gathering feedback for evaluating the effectiveness of the support group kit. Nurses will be asked to pilot this kit in their own community. Evaluation will be obtained by responding to a questionnaire that addresses the strengths and weaknesses of this tool; how it helped them implement the support group and what was missing. This will be instituted after the nurse has had time to have several support group meetings. The data generated from this survey will be used in the next phase.
  4. Evaluation of the tool kit: Once the questionnaires are collected, the tool kit will be re-evaluated to incorporate the suggestions of the nurses. This updated kit and the results of the questionnaire will be presented at the 2005 ASORN meeting by several of the pilot group leaders to facilitate ownership of this program by the nurses and for the program to be viewed as an acceptable means of nursing intervention for the AMD patient.
  5. Manuscript submission: This will be a necessary and important component to disseminate the program to the wider community of ophthalmic nurses. It will serve to broaden awareness and heighten sensitivity of nurses to the needs of patients with macular degeneration. The manuscript will be submitted to the ASORN Journal, Insight, as well as American Journal of Nursing. Other appropriate journals may be considered as the project progresses.

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