A Model for Clinical Make-Up

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Lynn Allchin, RN, PhD
School of Nursing, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT

Learning Objective 1: compare traditional methods for clinical make-up.

Learning Objective 2: summarize the benefits of Saturday in-class make-up.

Nursing student absences will occur during clinical rotations. Students become ill, cars break down, grandparents die and funerals must be attended. These types of clinical absences, while excused because they are unavoidable occurrences need to be made up. Unexcused absences, starting a vacation early or calling off to complete an assignment in another course also need to be made up. Clinical make-up has traditionally been directed by individual clinical instructors and has consisted of either written work or verbal presentations by the student. Either way, the instructor was held responsible for assuring make-up was completed, often at the expense of the instructor’s time. When students make up clinical per instructor, no formal records are kept attesting to frequency or patterns of individual student absences. Essentially, a student could miss as much as 10-16 days over two years of clinical without drawing attention. A decrease in absences, especially those thought to be unexcused, was desired at our School of Nursing. During the academic year 2008-09 student clinical make-up has been on Saturdays as an all day workshop held on campus. Two to three Saturdays were designated at the beginning of each semester as clinical make-up days. Junior and senior students in all rotations join a faculty member on campus for the day to learn about a topic applicable to all clinical settings, topics have been end of life, evidence based practice, and dementia, delirium, and depression. Pain management and impaired nurses are future topics. Students learn basic content via a short lecture or on-line self learning program, research a sub-topic (i.e. advanced directives for end of life) at the campus library, and present a short review for the entire group with discussion. Both clinical faculty and student response has been positive.