Tuesday, May 1, 2007


I just completed a semester involved in an innovative program to help increase the number of clinical nursing instructors, thereby increasing the number of nursing students schools can accept. What's "WINNER"? It stands for "Workforce Increases in Nurses and Nursing Faculty Excellence in Resource". As a participant in the program, I directly precepted two bright, eager BSN students for the clinical portion of their Adult Healthcare I course. Their enthusiasm is refreshing. They were like sponges, and I swear, they'd have followed me into the bathroom if I'd have let them! They were, in a word, AWESOME! I wish there had been such a program when I was a student. They followed my schedule, even the 11-7 shifts. I think I had as good a time as they did.

Taken from the
UT School of Nursing's website,
"Schools in the Texas Gulf Coast Region turn away qualified applicants to initial RN licensure programs due to limited space within clinical sites and a shortage of clinical faculty. This grant, supported by a consortium of ADN and BSN nursing programs, hospitals, clinical agencies and community partners and funded through the University of Texas School of Nursing at Houston, demonstrates an alternative approach to nurse education. Designed as a preceptorship model, the project addresses a major limitation to increased student enrollment, constrained clinical education capacity. By increasing this capacity, student enrollment can expand and ultimately result in increased numbers of initial licensure programs graduates.

A second objective is to develop a pool of Preceptors for mentoring initial licensure ADRN and BSRN students in the clinical setting in the Texas Gulf Coast Region. Support of this program is expected to increase the collaboration among educational programs and between education and service for the benefit of the Gulf Coast nursing community and the population it serves."

There's one more semester of funding for the project. I really hope it continues beyond that, because this methodology is far superior to the traditional clinical education model where one instructor has 10 or 12 students. My little chickadees did more in this one semester than I did during my entire career as a student.

Let's see ... they started Foleys, NG and OG tubes, assisted with bedside procedures such as central line insertions and brace fittings for patients with neck fractures. They also drew blood from those central lines and arterial lines, learned about CVP, A-line, and ICP monitoring. They cared for dying patients, learned about the organ procurement protocol, and saw how to refer a case to the Medical Examiner. They even had a patient in DKA with a glucose of 1087. They administered meds orally, subcutaneously, via IV push and piggyback, IM, and via NG tube. They learned about heparin and insulin drip protocols, and had patients on both. They even did slush enemas on a vented stroke patient with a bowel obstruction. They also started to learn the invaluable skill (or is it an art?) of time management. They even gave change of shift report and made some calls to physicians, and we all know how hard that can be!

I'm very proud of my girls. They gained so much confidence in our 12 short weeks together. They were so scared and intimidated at first. By their last couple of weeks, they walked in acting like they owned the ICU.

The Texas Board of Nurse Examiners is taking such programs under consideration. I can't say enough positive things about being a WINNER. If any of you are ever given the opportunity to participate in such a program, I STRONGLY encourage you to do so. My chickadees' enthusiasm was refreshing, and it helped to rekindle a more positive attitude in me. I'd like to think that I have made a positive difference in their educations, and will have some sort of influence on the kind of nurses they will one day become. I started out this posting by saying that I think I had as good a time as they did. That's not true. I KNOW I did!


AO said...

That's so awesome - I swear to god you probably precepted a good friend of mine who is graduating from UTHSC (tomorrow in fact). She was raving about how 10 people in class got to do this new preceptorship while the rest did the traditional model. I'm so glad you had a great experience. I certainly wish there was a program like that available to me as a student. She really lucked out in her education, I and I am definitely envious.

And also I just wanted to say - we really need preceptors/instructors like you who will give a student a chance to learn and foster our clinical/critical thinking skills. It's great you had such a positive experience 8-)

Runs With Scissors said...

Maybe so! I had an awesome time, and can't wait to do it again!