Utilizing Concept Maps and Clinical Conferences to Assess Clinical Judgement in Pre-Licensure Nursing Students

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 3:30 PM

Mary A. Wcisel, MSN, RN
Nursing, Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, IN, USA

Nursing clinical is a complex environment for students, as well as clinical faculty. Students are required to apply the concepts learned in the classroom to their assigned patients, who are often admitted with more than one diagnosis. The clinical faculty must assess that students are knowledgeable and are able to provide safe care. It is also the responsibility of the clinical faculty to begin developing the students nursing judgement. Can students identify how one diagnosis may impact another diagnosis? Can they identify connections between patient assessment data and complications that may be developing? Do students know when and how to intervene? Concept mapping and clinical conferences are two strategies that have been implemented to facilitate clinical judgement in pre-licensure nursing students.

In a senior level medical-surgical clinical, each student is required to complete a concept map on their assigned patient. The concept map allows the student to organize and establish relationships between the patient diagnoses and the data in the chart. During the clinical conference, the student explains the concept map, including the data that supports the medical/surgical diagnoses. Clinical judgment is assessed by having the student discuss the patients current or potential complication(s) and the specific data that would support the occurrence of the complication. How would the student know that the complication was occurring? What would the student do to prevent the complication? If an intervention was implemented, how would the student assess the effectiveness? What data would support the effectiveness of the intervention?

Students and clinical faculty comments on the concept maps and the clinical conference have been very positive. Students’ have commented on how much they learned and how the conferences helped them “put all the pieces together.” And the clinical faculty identified that they were able to assess the strengths and limitations of the student’s clinical judgment. It also provided an opportunity for the clinical faculty to implement strategies to improve clinical judgement in weaker students.

This presentation will discuss the benefits and challenges of individual clinical conferences in assessing clinical judgement in pre-licensure baccalaureate nursing students.