Sunday, November 4, 2007

This presentation is part of : Educational Strategies and Initiatives
Implementing a Centralized Clinical Placement System to Facilitate Increased Enrollments
Patricia L. Richard, PhD, RN1, Virginia Brooke, PhD, RN1, James E. Pittman, RN, BSN2, and James R. Bozeman, MBA1. (1) School of Nursing, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, USA, (2) Center for Professional Excellence, The Methodist Hospital, Houston, TX, USA
Learning Objective #1: identify issues related placement of nursing students for clinical experiences and desire to increase enrollments at Schools of Nursing.
Learning Objective #2: identify solutions to address limitations related to manual processes used for clinical placement of nursing students.

Over the past several years healthcare industry experts and other officials have forecasted a nursing shortage that will have a substantial impact to our nation’s healthcare system. Some predications have stated that this shortage may reach 800,000 by the year 2020. To counter this shortage, government agencies at all levels, non-profit organizations, and other community members have requested schools of nursing to increase enrollments.

One issue that hampers increasing enrollments is the current process used for clinical placements of nursing students. A manual pencil and paper system does not provide the efficiency and overall view of the available resources needed to address significant increases. Some issues identified as problematic are multiple requests for the same clinical experience sent to several hospitals, inconsistency in personnel assigning clinical rotations, and deadlines for approvals not being met.

The benefits to transitioning to an online, database-driven system include providing schools of nursing with an inventory of every clinical placement available in the area; bringing awareness to alternative clinical opportunities such as off shifts, and weekends, and potentially day cares, home health, public schools; and obtaining metrics related to the number of students placed compared to available clinical spots. Currently there is no way to determine the exact percentage of available clinical spots in the Texas Gulf Coast region. This information will be useful in forecasting, tracking, and supporting future projects such as simulation labs or changes in legislation. This system also allows the region to work toward future collaboration and sharing of resources related to nursing education and to provide equity in the education of our community’s future nurses.