Integrated Application Process for Nursing Student Clinical Practicum

Thursday, 27 July 2017: 3:50 PM

Nancy S. Goldstein, DNP, MS, ANP-BC, RNC-OB1
Diana Lyn Baptiste, DNP, MSN, RN1
Sibyl Snow, MA2
(1)Department of Acute and Chronic Care, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, Baltimore, MD, USA
(2)Academic Affairs, Johns Hopkin University School of Nursing, Baltimore, MD, USA

The nursing students’ decision where to complete their education can be difficult with multiple clinical options. A process to improve communication and quality of selection through an integrated application was the aim. A strategy was developed with functionality and technical capabilities to support wide-ranging needs of all clinical practicum options.

Supporting learning for pre-licensure nursing students in the clinical arena for their final clinical practicum continues to challenge nurse educators. Finding the right clinical setting and mentor in that setting continues to test nursing educators. The nursing students’ decision for completion of their education can be difficult when there are so many practice settings and clinical options. The method to support placement of individual students on a particular clinical site for their final practicum course was our focus.

We developed a web-based application using Qualtrics® survey software. Students were provided a link to complete the application within a two-week time frame. The application process includes an algorithm to assist students with selecting locations, clinical sites, clinical areas of focus, and a narrative describing the rationale for their selection. We divided options into the categories based on various clinical areas. Students were provided a text box to type a 250-word narrative about why they are interested in the clinical areas.

The process to improve student selection quality for an integrated application was the goal. By analyzing and reorganizing the process a strategy was developed. This process focused on developing functionality and technical capabilities to support the wide ranging needs of all clinical practicum options including local area, distant, specialty and international. Each option had some degree of requirements in which there may have been need for added supplemental forms. Communicating the goals, process and outcomes was important in the development and implementation process to achieve change in the workflow for students and educators. Benefits, limitations, and barriers related to the development, maintenance, and application of the program will be addressed.

Developing a process to improve selection quality for an integrated application became a challenging goal. Limitations identified included incomplete applications, discrepancies between narrative and drop-down menu selectins, and the narrative word-length was limiting. Students had difficulty selecting clinical placements as a result of novice skillsets, modest patient exposure, and limited experiences in a variety of clinical areas. Using technology to support the application has enabled educators to successfully assign students to the practicum site of their choice. All applications are retrieved from Qualtrics® and transcribed to an Excel® spreadsheets. The electronic application enables faculty to review student selections via spreadsheets that combined all data onto one file. Students were able to quickly and easily select choices and add pertinent information related to each selection, giving the educator a clear understanding of their post-graduation goals.