Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2014

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Speech and Hearing Science

First Advisor

Richard Hurtig


Acutely ill patients, across the age continuum, often present with complex communication needs (CCN) due to motor, sensory, cognitive and linguistic barriers they may experience during their hospital encounter. While hospital administrators recognize the importance of improving communication among the healthcare team members to increase quality and safety measures, few have focused on improving the patient-provider communication process, especially for patients with CCN. Recent Joint Commission standards mandates hospitals and healthcare providers improve communication for patients with CCN across all points of the care continuum. The study investigated the effectiveness of AAC training protocols for acute care nurses and ancillary healthcare providers using an on-line instructional medium for clinical skills teaching. The study design allowed for the measurement of learning following exposure to the tutorial and the analysis of possible clinical skill application. The current study invited a total of 377 nurses and graduate students to participate. Eight-three participated in the study and were divided randomly into two groups. Seventeen (20.5%) were assigned to in the control group, and 66 (79.5%) participants were into the test group. Both groups were directed to complete a pre-test measure. This was followed by exposure to the tutorial for the test group. The groups then were instructed to complete a post-test measure. For all participants in the test condition, the mean difference score (post-pre) was 19.2. The average pre-test score was 60.8 with a standard deviation of 12.4 while the average post-test score was 80.1 with a standard deviation of 11.3. This difference was significant (p


AAC, Complex Communication Needs, Nursing Tutorial


x, 143 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 137-143).


Copyright 2014 Debora Downey