Enhancing Clinical Experience through Experiential learning
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Session presented on Friday, July 24, 2015: Introduction: Our academic institution aims to graduate caring, compassionate, and competent nurses of the future. The faculty and the administrative team foster supportive environment to assist the students to achieve success. The team effort of the committed faculties, professional tutors, clinical coordinators, administrative team, and leaders are crucial to the academic success of the students. The goal to achieve the highest passing rate is imperative. Bringing passionate and caring nurses of the future is the utmost priority of the campus. The competitiveness of the job placement after graduation poses a challenge to the future graduates and the campus. Professional experience is one of the strategies to shape the extraordinary nurses of the future trainings related to dysrhythmia interpretation, advanced cardiac life support, birthing DOULA, STABLE, and crisis intervention are offered to senior students of CCN while taking the specialty courses. These training are offered during specialty courses in Materity, Pediatrics, Mental Health, and Critical Care courses in teh undergraduate program. The training is accompanied by simulation and case-scenario experience. Purpose: The purpose of the study is to explore the effects of professional experience/experiential learning in transitioning the Baccalaureate undergraduate students into professional practice. Methods: Quantitative method using survey questionnaires (likert scale) was been used to collect the data. Two hundred fourty- nine Baccalaureate undergraduate students were surveyed pre and post application of experiential learning/professional experience during their specialty courses (Maternal Child, Pediatrics, Critical Care, and Mental Health Courses). A simulation experience evaluation was also utilized after the students' professional experience. Results: Results of the two hundred fifty-nine (259) students' responses from the survey questionnaire (pre and post professional experience), showed improved competencies, enhancement of knowledge, and confidence while in clinical areas. There were significant results that showed students' improved skills in using critical thinking and application of concepts to real life situations. As a result of the professional experience, the students enhanced their knowledge and experience in course content as a result of their summative evaluation. More students graduating were not only being prepared for NCLEX success but also for future employment marketability. Findings of this project have supported that lifelong learning may be introduced at the senior level of Baccalaureate degree through professional experience and progressive enhancement of competency development were feasible. Thus, fostering of quality of care and safety were maintained. Conclusion: In conclusion, transitioning to professional practice is challenging but rewarding experience to help prepare the nursing graduates to professional practice. Nursing shortage is imminent but poses a challenge to nursing schools to produce more extraordinary nurses of the future who are equipped with the knowledge, skills, competencies, confidence, and preparation to provide safe and efficient care through immersion to the clinical practice, professional practice, and simulation experience. Students' socialization to the role of the nurse prepares them for future professional practice. Healthcare institutions hiring the new graduates must provide supportive measures to assist them to acculturate to the healthcare settings and role expectations. Implications to nursing practice, clinical partners, and community are remarkable. Community: Patient safety is promoted. Nurses of the future can help identify life threatening conditions to save more lives. More people in the community will receive excellent nursing care from our extraordinary nurses. Clinical Partners: Our nurses of the future can be the great employee of our clinical partners. More safe and efficient care will be received by their patients. Our extraordinary nurses will be graduating with certifications that will assist them to competently function as a professional nurse. Nursing Education Practice: As the student nurses are more familiar with the environment and critical situations, there will be more competent and confident care that will be provided. Less anxiety from the students will be produced and better patient outcomes. Immersion and socialization to the roles of professional nurses will be a great avenue to prepare the nurses with their role expectations, practice settings, and standards of nursing practice.