Roy Brown

This interview series “Why We Choose Open: OER Stories” invites VCU community members to share why they use, adapt or create Open Educational Resources (OER) and what impact that work has on their students, teaching experiences, and/or career.

Faculty: Roy Brown, VCU Libraries, Health Sciences Library, Research and Education

Resource: The Clinical Inquiry Process Diagram outlines the nursing inquiry process to help answer questions that arise in the clinical setting. The diagram further helps a nurse understand how to distinguish whether a situation calls for evidence-based practice, performance improvement, or research. It also guides a nurse through clarifying the initial question, gathering the evidence, and through each step in the subsequent process. Available as a PDF digitally via Scholars Compass.

Briefly describe your project
While I have several items that could be viewed as OER that are all in the VCU Scholars Compass, the one I would highlight is “The Clinical Inquiry Process Diagram.” This diagram was originally created as a teaching tool to help nurses understand the similarities and differences between evidence-based practice, performance improvement, and research.

What motivated you to openly license your resource?
My motivation for placing a Creative Commons license on this diagram is my belief that knowledge should be shared and not be hidden behind paywalls.  My focus has always been wanting any work I do to improve the work nurses do to improve patient care.  I believe helping nurses to understand these three concepts (evidence-based practice, performance improvement and research) is key because the use of evidence/information is so critical when it comes to nursing clinical practice.

What was your experience openly licensing and sharing your resources?
 When it comes to openly licensing the diagram and other resources I have created, my experiences have been all positive.  It only took me a couple of minutes to go through the process of submitting it to the institutional repository (VCU Scholars Compass).  All I needed was a PDF copy of the resource and an abstract.  Any questions I had were quickly answered by Sam Byrd, the Scholarly Publishing Librarian at VCU Libraries.  Including the resource in Scholars Compass means that I am able to share a stable and reliable link to the resource.  It also allows me to get a sense of the interest in the resource by providing monthly readership reports, which show how many times and from where items are viewed and downloaded. 

Once I had placed it in the repository, it was easy to provide the link in any educational session that I taught and to share it through various social media outlets.  I also was fortunate to incorporate the diagram into several conference presentations and having it openly available allowed those at other institutions to easily view the resource. 

How was your resource received by the nursing community?
I knew the diagram was useful in the course I taught on Evidence-based Practice (EBP) but did not realize there would be an audience for it outside of that. I was pleasantly surprised that nursing administrators and other nurses in VCU Health found it to be really useful not only to gain a further understanding of the clinical inquiry process but also to help think through where resources needed to be dedicated in order to improve nursing clinical practice.  It was adopted as part of the shared governance process at VCU Health and is displayed on many units in the hospital. The diagram has also been used at other hospitals as well, including the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.  I had a similar positive response in the VCU School of Nursing, where the diagram has been incorporated into the EBP courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Through my conference presentations where I also discussed the diagram, the reaction was just as positive.  As more nurses have seen it, I have also received some good feedback that I have used to improve the diagram.  The present diagram is the third version of the diagram. 

How have you been impacted by your use of OER?
Aside from the positive feedback I received, the ability of nurses to discover and use the diagram has also helped me professionally in ways that I had not envisioned.  Because of the utility of the diagram and my work with nurses, I have been able to present at several nursing conferences such as the ANCC Magnet Conference where I had a podium presentation.  I was also asked to become a facilitator for EBP immersions and a  member of the Clinical Core Advisory Committee for the Helene Fuld Health Trust National Institute for Evidence-based Practice in Nursing and Healthcare at The Ohio State University School of Nursing.  I have been asked to speak to library school classes and present at other conferences based on this work as well. 

Do you have any guidance for other faculty considering openly licensing their resources?
When it comes to creating and making educational resources open, I think there is no downside to doing so.  If you think that there may be a chance others may find it useful, I encourage you to make your educational objects open and place them into the VCU Scholars Compass.  The couple of minutes it takes to place them into the institutional repository is something that helps others but also can help enhance you professionally in ways that you may not realize.

Learn more about OER in the VCU Community
Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that are free to access online and shared with open licenses that allow for unrestricted use, retention, sharing and editing by faculty and students. OER can be any type of teaching or learning materials, including textbooks, images, videos, slide decks, assessments, syllabi, and whole courses. 

VCU Libraries’ Open and Affordable Course Content Initiative provides education on open education and textbook affordability and direct support for the adoption, customization and creation of open educational resources, including managing the Affordable Course Content Awards. To learn more or explore the possibility of using or creating OER, visit the initiative’s website or contact Open Educational Resources Librarian Jessica Kirschner at

Categories Faculty/Staff, Nursing, OER Stories, Open Textbooks, Why We Choose Open