Utilizing DNP Students as Graduate Teaching Assistants to Train Undergraduate Nursing Students in Simulation

Tuesday, 31 October 2017: 9:20 AM

Cynthia L. Cummings, EdD, MS, RN, CHSE, CNE1
Linda K. Connelly, PhD, ARNP2
Judy Comeaux, DNP1
(1)School of Nursing, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL, USA
(2)Brooks College of Health, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL, USA

Purpose: The purpose of this presentation is to discuss the training program developed for DNP students, who functioned as graduate teaching assistants in the facilitation of simulation activities with undergraduate nursing students.

Methods: Due to the demand for clinical hours and training in both the graduate and undergraduate programs, the graduate faculty asked if the undergraduate faculty could utilize graduate teaching assistants (GTA) to help with their courses. The adult health faculty decided that we could use these graduate nurses to assist with simulation activities. These nurses were all enrolled in the doctor of nursing practice program and were required to complete 30 hours of clinical time per semester. The nurses came from a variety of backgrounds, but all had at least 2 years of recent nursing experience.

This presentation will deal with the training, preparation, challenges and success of using graduate nurses to instruct undergraduate nursing students in simulated experiences. The training included discussion and information on the types of simulated activities and the equipment. Preparation involved examples and schedules for the experiences and then a brief survey and discussion was conducted on their simulation experiences and what they found as challenges and benefits of this experience.

Results: Since beginning this program last year, we have utilized 14 of these nurses as GTAs in our simulation activities. What we found was that often the nurses were hard on the students in terms of their knowledge level, while others volunteered information that the student should be presenting. In general, the nurses enjoyed the experience, but at times felt ill-prepared for the simulation experience. Due to the wide variation in background the nurse may not have been exposed to this type of case study or may have had different results than the one presented in the simulated activity. The nurses wanted to impart knowledge and realism to the students and the students expressed a feeling of comfort by having the graduate assistant discuss the case with them instead of the formal instructor.

Conclusion: We will be continuing this activity and hope to expand the training and the teaching hours, so that both the undergraduate and graduate can grow from this experience. We are also asking the graduate students to review the simulations and offer their opinion on the authenticity of the experience and make changes when applicable.