Clinical exposure is a nursing student’s chance to be able to apply hands-on nursing care and put the knowledge and theories they gained in classrooms to use. However, these brief patient contacts are not enough for the nursing students to really experience the delivery of continuous care. The brevity of exposure also limits the students’ opportunities to explore the hospital’s system of care and more.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Nursing has seen through this gap in the current curriculum and pioneered an accelerated set of instructions called the Pacesetters program. The redesigned 4-year BSN program allows nursing students to work a full-time clinical rotation schedule over 16 weeks during the final semester. There is a prerequisite though, applicants must initially complete 60 hours course work to be accepted into the program. Apart from the hospital setting, students who are in the program are also given the chance to be exposed in local schools and the community and other areas like OB and pedia units.

As a nursing graduate of the current nursing curriculum, I can say that that this remodeling is not such a bad idea. Thinking back to my student days, I could still remember how it is to try to develop a plan of care for a patient who I’ve only seen for 2 or 3 days. Most of it are based on books and assumptions and not on the actual patient himself. What’s more disappointing about it is that no matter how good I make my plan of care, I know that I wouldn’t be able to implement it on the patient anyway. As compared to this program that they have developed, students are given an opportunity to actually be immersed into the clinical area and get to really feel what it is like working as a nurse while still in nursing school.

Another good I think this change will bring is that new nurse graduates will be better prepared when they get out there working the floors. I knew I should have had more clinical experience as a student when I went on my first duty as a registered nurse. I now experienced for myself that you can only teach yourself from books and theories but all this is nothing without practical application. I knew how to insert an NG tube, how to suction a patient hooked on a mechanical vent and other procedures but before I did those things on my own, I still had to ask a senior nurse to look over how I did things. I have the knowledge and competence to handle patients but still a little more exposure would have given me more confidence as a first-timer. 

This newly developed program I think looks promising and could be a model that other nursing schools can follow after.

Original article from Medicalnewstoday.com., New Approach To Nursing Education Gives Students The Chance To ‘Live Like A Nurse’

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