Examining the Cost-Benefit Analysis of Clinical Associates: An Innovative Preceptorship Model for Nursing Programs and Practice Partners

Tuesday, 19 November 2013: 10:20 AM

Wendy J. Waldspurger Robb, PhD, RN
Nursing Department, Cedar Crest College, Allentown, PA

Learning Objective 1: Describe two positive outcomes of a collaborative clinical preceptor model for nursing students.

Learning Objective 2: List three financial variables of interest used to calculate the cost-benefit analysis for the Clinical Associate preceptorship model.

Purpose: The global nursing shortage is impacted by a scarcity of clinical resources (practice sites, qualified instructors) and the exorbitant cost of clinical education (mandatory student-instructor ratios). In 2007, the Nursing Department of a small liberal arts women's college in the Northeastern United States received a FIPSE grant ($497,863.00) to examine the cost-benefit analysis of nursing education in order to reduce costs and improve quality in baccalaureate nursing programs (#P116B060261).

The specific goals of the investigation were to: 1) develop a replicable model to reduce the cost of nursing education, 2) improve the quality of the educational experience, 3) ease the nursing shortage, and 4) implement a hospital preceptor clinical model.

Methods: Financial variables of interest related to the hospital included the: 1) cost of Clinical Associate stipends, 2) cost of additional nurses for the clinical unit, 3) costs associated with nurse turnover (advertising, recruitment, hiring, orientation, training, productivity), and 4) savings related to shorter orientation of new graduate nurses who accepted positions on the unit after their clinical preceptorship. Financial variables of interest related to the college included: 1) faculty cost, 2) potential tuition gain, and 3) faculty workload. Additional data related to quality of the clinical experience will be presented.

Results: The financial analysis evaluated projected savings and expenditures of both the college and the partnering hospital. The presenter will share the results of the cost-benefit analysis of the preceptorship model utilizing registered nurse Clinical Associates in the practice setting.

Conclusion: This replicable, innovative preceptorship model: 1) demonstrated cost-effectiveness, actual and potential savings, for both the college and the practice partner, 2) resulted in improved quality of the clinical experience for students, and 3) allows for a potential increase in enrollment to help offset the shortage. Plans for sustaining the Clinical Associate model will be shared.