Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

Comparing the Effectiveness, Practice Opportunities, and Satisfaction of the Preceptored Clinical and the Traditional Clinical for Nursing Students

Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

Comparing the Effectiveness, Practice Opportunities, and Satisfaction of the Preceptored Clinical and the Traditional Clinical for Nursing Students

Article excerpt


AIM A preceptored clinical education model was introduced in partnership with a health care agency and compared with the traditional model for nursing clinical education. The preceptored model provided clinical education that more realistically approached the job responsibilities of the registered nurse.

METHOD Students were surveyed and measured at three points in their curriculum.

RESULTS Students in the preceptored clinical reported significantly more practice opportunities, but there were no significant differences on any cognitive measures of performance. In the first semester, the preceptored group reported higher satisfaction and perception of learning facilitation. These differences disappeared at the mid and endpoint measures.

CONCLUSIONS Preceptored students appeared to have greater practice opportunities, but this experience did not alter classroom performance or satisfaction beyond the first semester.


Clinical Education - Preceptor - Experiential Learning

In their report of a multiyear comparative study of professional education in the United States, Benner, Sutphen, Leonard, and Day (2010) argued for radical transformation in the pathways to nursing licensure, including clinical education. Tanner (2006, p. 99), an expert on clinical education in nursing, noted that "for the most part, clinical education has remained essentially unchanged for the past 40 years." Tanner cited problems such as limited numbers of clinical sites, increased patient acuity, and inefficient use of student time. Furthermore, Tanner suggested that developing new models for clinical education is our "highest priority" and should be rooted in the best evidence available.

One of the limiting factors in enrollment in schools of nursing is the lack of clinical education sites and qualified faculty. Kaufman (2007) noted that nurse faculty are nearing retirement at record rates, with few faculty entering the field. Relatively little systematic study has occurred regarding clinical education; efficacy, student satisfaction, and methodology have been largely overlooked.

Several novel approaches to clinical education have been initiated, and a body of evidence regarding effectiveness is beginning to emerge (Campbell & Dudley, 2005; Lancaster & Cipriano, 2007). The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness, practice opportunities, and satisfaction of preceptored clinical and traditional clinical placements for nursing students, and to answer the question: Among junior and senior bachelor of science in nursing students, how do students in preceptored clinicals compare with students in a traditional clinical group with regard to the number of times essential skills are performed in the clinical experience; perceived support and satisfaction with the clinical experience; and performance on standardized comprehensive tests in the relevant subject areas that all students complete.

A preceptored model for clinical education was created and tested in a public school of nursing in the Midwest. This model places students at one facility for their two-year clinical education, and pairs each student with an experienced, trained RN preceptor.

LIterature revIeW

The traditional configuration of clinical education places one faculty with about 10 students, each caring for one or perhaps two patients. In this model students spend a great deal of time waiting to ask questions and to have the instructor supervise their skill performance. Ironside, Diekelmann, and Hirschmann (2005, p. 52) argued for the creation of "compelling, student- centered nursing education." By their nature, preceptored clinical experiences offer more individual time between students and instructors and help students see application for what they learned in school. Students note the importance of individual relationships to learning (Yonge, Myrick, Ferguson, & Lughana, 2005).

Benner et al. …

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