Purpose: This study explores preclinical preparation activities (PPA) in nursing education. Significance: The clinical environment represents the cornerstone of nursing education, where theory, psychomotor skills, and critical thinking converge. Existing literature demonstrates limited data on PPA. This paper investigates forms and student perceptions regarding PPA. Methods: A survey tool was created in tandem with existing research and faculty consultation. This survey was distributed to students (N=541) and clinical faculty (N=94). 298 students and 34 faculty returned the survey. Analysis: Quantitative data was cleaned and analyzed using Stata 13. Qualitative student data was analyzed for underlying themes. Authors assessed internal validity by correlating similar questions (r = 0.6111). Results: The most common forms of PPA assignment included “student assigned patient - student gathers information” (37.3 percent) and “unit staff assigned patient - student gathers information” (33.6 percent). More than 50% of students agreed or strongly agreed with statements indicating PPA importance; however, mean comparison tests indicate no significant differences in perception of clinical activities between those who perform PPA and those who do not with the exception of sleep and clinical informatics skills. The study also analyzes the impact of PPA on stress and sleep, finding that students believe PPA increases stress and decreases sleep quantity. Conclusions: Factors affecting student perception of PPA include: timing of assignment, time spent on the assignment, stress, and anxiety. The findings suggest that students receive diminishing returns on time spent on PPA; nevertheless,, PPA may indeed enhance learning and safety. Implications: The findings provide insight into the usefulness of PPA from a student perspective and explore how these activities might be conducted.
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