Utilization of an Alternative Clinical Learning Environment for Foundations of Nursing II Students in a Baccalaureate Nursing Program

Tuesday, 31 July 2012: 11:05 AM

Kelly J. Betts, MNSc, RN
College of Nursing, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to identify the elements needed to create and utilize an alternative clinical learning environment with foundational students.

Learning Objective 2: The learning will be able to discuss the benefits and challenges of using an alternative clinical learning environment for foundational students.

Nursing faculty are faced with many challenges. One of the issues involves trying to provide nursing students with in-patient clinical experiences.  In particular, faculty members struggle with the issue of not getting enough clinical slots in local area hospitals to meet the needs of the clinical requirements of the course. Nursing faculty are then faced with the challenge of creating alternative clinical learning environments that promote the fundamental nursing skills and critical thinking components that are essential to meet course objectives and promote efficiency in nursing skills. Many schools are relying on simulation labs and other sources of simulated clinical experiences to meet the school’s clinical requirements. This oral presentation or poster presentation if accepted will discuss how a team of faculty at the University of Arkansas for Medical sciences, College of Nursing created and utilized an alternative learning environment for their Foundations of Nursing II course in their baccalaureate nursing program. The alternative clinical learning environment was created using the simulation lab and an online virtual patient community. The creation of this alternative clinical learning environment provided students with an in-patient hospital environment utilizing real case scenarios of patients via video along with the patient simulators in a simulated hospital environment while providing the students with learning concepts such as nursing skills, pharmacology, lab interpretation, assessment skills, psychosocial aspects and critical thinking skills. Two years of student data were collected using an online survey tool to ascertain student satisfaction with the alternative clinical experience. Results indicated that students overall were very satisfied with the clinical experience and although they felt it was not equivalent to the actual patient care experience, it provided them with a safe, simulated environment to practice skills, critically think and sharpen their assessment skills.