Magazine article American Nurse Today

Close Encounters at the Bedside: Partnering among Clinical Nurses, Students, and Faculty

Magazine article American Nurse Today

Close Encounters at the Bedside: Partnering among Clinical Nurses, Students, and Faculty

Article excerpt

"Oh, no, I have a student today!"

"You don't want a student? I'll take her!"

"You want my student? Don't you just cringe when the students ask you all those questions, and they move so slowly? I can 'tget my work done!"

"I used to feel like that, but not so much anymore. Now I can see distinct advantages to precepting students, and I'm trying to shift how I work with them so that we all have a better day."

"Well, please share because I'm just not a teacher and don't have the patience. I don't know how to partner well with them."

Nurses in clinical settings report a variety of thoughts and emotions about precepting students in patient care experiences. Some nurses look forward to having a student and are always seeking ways to make the encounter work better. Other nurses feel frustrated and anxious when they have a student. Clinical staff nurses often wonder if they are directing students in ways that are congruent with the student's academic instruction and if they are asking too much or too little. Nurses fret over their lack of ability or time to instruct, debrief, and build relationships with students. Navigating close encounters with students and faculty while efficiently delivering excellent patient care is a skill to be learned and refined.

The issues clinical nurses face in precepting students arise amidst a world-wide trend toward strengthening partnerships between academic and clinical entities. At the systems level, academic-clinical collaboration creates a pipeline for new nurse recruitment and better prepared graduates who stay in practice. In addition, academic-clinical partnerships help close the research-practice gap and improve quality of patient care. Academic centers are assured of clinical sites to place students and better opportunities to conduct nursing research.

The value added for systems is clear, but what do close academic-clinical partnerships mean for the clinical nurse at the bedside, who is called on to precept students? It means the clinical nurse must have the skills and knowledge to help bridge the clinical and academic worlds and integrate students' learning needs with patients needs for care.

What's in it for the stakeholders?

Clinical nurses and faculty both benefit from a close partnership. Clinical nurses

* gain a sense of fulfillment from investing in a future nurse and becoming part of the student's life story.

* enhance recruitment of new nurses, as students may come and work in their facility.

* experience inner satisfaction in transferring their knowledge and preparing nurses who will stay in the profession and practice safely and effectively.

* try out teaching as a possible career path and, if masters prepared, become an adjunct faculty member or negotiate a joint appointment.

* include precepting on annual performance evaluations or as part of a clinical ladder criterion.

* develop a relationship with academic faculty, who may become a mentor or can support their professional work, write a letter of reference, offer career guidance, or collaborate with on future projects.

* learn about new research evidence for evidence-based practice from the student and faculty that can improve patient care outcomes.

* gain advantages from employer or the academic partner, such as paid travel to a conference, partial tuition support for completing educational methods courses, tickets to sporting events, library access and services, or recognition atan awards celebration.

Clinical faculty

* act as the clinical connection for research for the school of nursing.

* stay up-to-date on new clinical innovations.

* share evidence-based practices with clinical nurses.

* act as a conduit for communication between the clinical setting and school of nursing.

* optimize accurate and fair evaluation of students' clinical performance. …

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