Clinical Hours: Perceptions of Students for a 9-Hour Hospital Clinical Practicum and a 3-Hour Seminar

Wednesday, 24 July 2013: 3:50 PM

Mary Kay Welle, MSN, RN, CNS, ONC
Department of Nursing, Saint Mary's College, South Bend, IN
Annette Peacock-Johnson, RN, MSN
Department of Nursing, Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, IN

Learning Objective 1: Describe the current literature regarding the best methods for clinical nursing education.

Learning Objective 2: Identify the perceptions of baccalaureate nursing students regarding the benefits and limitations of a dedicated structured three-hour clinical seminar on learning.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of junior and senior baccalaureate nursing students regarding the impact of a dedicated structured three-hour clinical seminar on learning. 

Methods: This mixed method study was conducted by use of a survey.  Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected.  For the quantitative analysis, a Likert scale was used to measure the effectiveness of seminar on the development of confidence and understanding of specific, structured seminar activities.  For the qualitative analysis, students were asked to respond narratively as to how seminar did or did not enhance their understanding of clinical concepts or critical thinking. Students also were asked their opinions regarding seminar length, timing, and value.

Results: Five themes were identified as contributing to student learning including:  communication strategies, learning through shared student experiences, concept mapping/clinical paperwork, critical thinking, and skills.  Junior students identified discussion and analysis of actual patient scenarios, following by practice with therapeutic/listening communication skills and evaluation of medication effectiveness as being of most benefit.  Senior students identified therapeutic/listening communication skills and assistance with the plan of care as being most helpful closely followed by the ability to prepare and deliver an evidenced based practice professional group presentation.  Student responses were mixed regarding the scheduling and length of the clinical seminar.

Conclusion:   Nursing clinical faculty need to identify the most effective method(s) for clinical instruction. Studies regarding the best method and format for clinical nursing education outlining optimal type and length of clinical experience are lacking.  This study identified that students overwhelmingly supported the clinical seminar as a format that contributed to their learning.  Of greatest benefit was the learning that occurred through mutual discussion and sharing.  Students also responded to the benefit of the clinical seminar as having time to reflect and synthesize information from clinical experiences.