Implementing Change in the Clinical Skills Laboratory

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Implementing Change in the Clinical Skills Laboratory
For the last several years, the nursing shortage has continued to influence the nursing faculty and the acceptance of nursing students. According to Walrath and Belcher (2006) 32,617 qualified applicants were denied entrance into nursing schools in 2005 because of the shortage of qualified nursing faculty. The schools of nursing have continued to increase enrollment, yet the faculty and infrastructure has been unable to accommodate the demand. New technology along with creative use of available resources can assist the faculty in utilizing existing facilities to create a positive clinical preparation experience. The introduction of simulation is a practical option to the traditional clinical skills preparation. According to Ham & O’Rourke (2004), “an essential component of nursing education,” is the “the clinical setting” which “provides nursing students with an opportunity to apply and refine acquired cognitive, affective and psychomotor skills” (p. 139). However, the preparation time in the clinical skills laboratory can be challenging for an over extended faculty. After reviewing the Baptist Health School of Practical Nursing history, mission and objectives, the student and faculty benefits of the integration of skills lab simulation will be examined. A product of the nursing shortage of the 1960’s, the Arkansas Baptist Hospital approved the establishment of the School of Practical Nursing in July1964. Since that time, the school has developed into one of the largest diploma programs in the region, graduating over 2000 students. In 1990, the National League of Nursing Accrediting Commission granted the program with an official approval. Baptist Health School of Practical Nursing was the first Licensed Practical Nursing program to receive the certification in the state of Arkansas and has recently obtained accreditation until the year 2012 (McCumpsey, 2006).

The mission the Baptist Health School of Practical Nursing is to provide an educational environment that will prepare the student to contribute in the healthcare team according to the established standards of practice. The school is committed to providing the students with clinical and classroom experiences that are inclusive of the Baptist Health core Christian Values of service, honesty, respect, stewardship and performance, which will enable the student to provide quality patient care (McCumpsey, 2006).

The objective of the Baptist Health School of Practical Nursing include exemplifying the core Christian values of the Baptist System, including contributing to the nursing process according to the established standard of practice for the Licensed Practical Nurses, providing individualize nursing care with respect the uniqueness of the patient, utilizing opportunities for professional growth, adhering to the standards of the nursing process and practices the stewardship of the utilization of resources (McCumpsey, 2006).

The faculty nursing shortage has persevered through the last ten years, according to Walrath and Belcher (2006). 1.2 million Registered Nursing positions will be needed for the population growth and replacement of retired nurses by 2014. The national schools of nursing have seen increases in their enrollment for the past several years, but the community of nurses will not meet the demand health care industry. In order to offset the dilemma, nursing educators are making great efforts to create original methods to educate the growing student population, with limitations on traditional clinical skill laboratory preparation, stimulations, often “innovative ways to teach students about the real world of nursing in a cost effective, efficient, and high quality manner” (Jefferies 2005). The limitations in clinical time, restrictions to the exposure to patients and decrease length of stay of the patients are all issues that are increasing becoming a challenge to the nurse educator when...
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