Posted on Aug 3, 2010

Clinical Collaborative Impacts Community

Clinical Collaborative Impacts Community

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The University of South Florida College of Nursing Clinical Collaborative Preceptor Partnership model aims to employ the best characteristics of traditional education combined with the breadth of the university education. This model, launched by the College in 2001 began a partnership with over a dozen health care hospitals/systems to facilitate practice collaboration among health care facilities in the Tampa Bay area and provide clinical training preparation of undergraduate nursing students. While doing so the program makes a large impact on the healthcare of the Tampa Bay community.

The Clinical Collaborative Preceptor Partnership model has formed a network that bridges traditional institutional boundaries and enlists cooperation among the Chief Nursing Officers and Vice Presidents of nursing services of area hospitals and the College of Nursing. Generating cooperative educational opportunities, the Clinical Collaborative has increased and enhanced the professional nurse experiences throughout the Tampa Bay area.

With over 350 traditional and second degree nursing baccalaureate students enrolled at the College at one time, each are required to complete around 885 clinical hours for their degrees, the College contributes approximately 318,600 hours of nursing care to area hospitals per cohort.

The program enables students to learn essential nursing skills under the guidance of an experienced nurse preceptor at a partnering health care organization facility from the first day of clinical experience. A unique feature that distinguishes this model from other traditional models is that students are required to complete their entire student experience at a single health care organization or team of hospitals. Some of the hospitals in the USF Clinical Collaborative provide the entire clinical experience at their facility while others have teamed with another hospital or two to comprise a hospital team.

Hospitals involved in the USF Clinical Collaborative include: All Children’s Hospital, Bayfront Medical Center, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital, Morton Plant Mease, Shriners Hospitals for Children, South Florida Baptist Hospital, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Tampa General Hospital and University Community Hospital.

The innovative model process begins with a new cohort of students admitted and assigned to a hospital team, led by a College of Nursing academic faculty Team Coordinator (TC).The TC collaborates with College academic clinical faculty and hospital-based faculty to assign preceptors to each student in their first semester of clinical, and every semester thereafter. To avoid undue burden on the unit’s cadre of preceptors, no more than two students are assigned to a clinical nursing unit, and the preceptor to student ratio is 1:1. The students learn at the side of their preceptor, and the clinical faculty supports the preceptors by continually making rounds.

The preceptor serves as a role model for professional nursing practice, engages students in aspects of patient care management appropriate to their level of study, and reinforces the needed psychomotor skills. The clinical faculty ensure the students are applying didactic content and concepts by focusing on clinical reasoning and critical thinking. The College’s academic faculty evaluates student performance with input from both the preceptors and clinical faculty. Students advance through their program of study as a cohort in a single hospital team, establishing a bond with each other, their preceptors, and their health care system.

Story by Ashlea Hudak
Photo by Eric Younghans
Originally published in the Summer 2010 Nursing Life magazine