Academic journal article Nursing and Health Care Perspectives

A Faculty on the Move into the Community

Academic journal article Nursing and Health Care Perspectives

A Faculty on the Move into the Community

Article excerpt

FACULTY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER School of Nursing initiated a curricular redesign to prepare students for the evolving demands of the health care job market and the changing nature of the nursing profession. The concept of the "Learning Community" serves as the metaphor for the new vision of clinical education a set of collaborative and dynamic relationships of students,faculty, clinicians, health care consumers and institutional and community sites with the mutual responsibility for the education of students and the health of all partners. Students experience firsthand the new capabilities required of professionals in the new context of health care as more than illness care.

Hearth care's shift in emphasis from illness to health and wellness requires students' clinical experiences to be within the context of the community--expanding the definition of "community" to include all settings where consumers seek health care. As highlighted by Clark and Cody (1994) "community-based experiences for students foster learning about people and their health within the context of home and community and offers the best promise for students to learn the complex human dynamics of real life and develop a holistic perspective required for independent nursing practice."

Within the past two years the Rochester area has begun to feel the impact of change in health care delivery already encountered by other regions of the country. Faculty at the University of Rochester School of Nursing initiated a c curricular redesign to prepare students for the evolving demands of the health care job market and, more importantly, for the changing nature of the nursing profession. The concept of community-based clinical experiences, with the integration of objectives across clinical settings, served as the guiding focus of the clinical redesign effort.

Concept of "Learning Community" served as metaphor for the new vision of clinical education

We began by organizing a faculty redesign work group to represent the varied interests of faculty in the undergraduate program. These efforts were under severe time constraints. This major conceptual redesign, which began at the outset of the fall semester (September), was to be implemented in January, the following semester. The group used an institutional Fast Track Process which incorporated the principles of Breakthrough Thinking[R] (Ralston, 1994), a decision support model, to assist in completing the work within the given time frame.

The concept of the "Learning Community" served as the metaphor for the new vision of clinical education: a set of collaborative and dynamic relationships of students, faculty, clinicians, health care consumers and institutional and community sites with the mutual responsibility for the education of students and the health of all partners. We identified six interrelated elements as essential to optimal functioning of the learning community:

1. student/faculty teams--the basic learning unit across clinical sites and courses;

2. site development--an ongoing process to facilitate mutual learning of students and community;

3. faculty development--aimed at the application of expertise in multiple settings and multimodal teaching;

4. learning modalities--learning experiences individualized in diverse settings guided by competency-derived modules;

5. socialization--activities designed to enhance internalization of professional attributes; and

6. design of tire learning process--the integration of theory and experiential learning which enhances student competency, holistic consumer care, and the use of resources.

Crucial to the development of our curricular redesign was the need to challenge implicit assumptions of how clinical education must be conducted. Some of these "dearly held" assumptions included:

* Essential clinical knowledge is learned in traditional inpatient units. …

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