An essential component of nursing education is to prepare new graduate nurses with a solid base for the provision of safe and effective patient care. A key component of safe and effective patient care is the utilization of evidence based nursing practice. Engagement with community clinical partners while learning how evidence based research is developed, designed, and implemented will promote nursing student transition to practice and deepen their understanding of how nursing practice is based on the best evidence to promote optimal patient outcomes.
Evidence-based practice is essential to safe patient care and optimal treatment outcomes. The Virginia Board of Nursing requires that pre-licensure nursing programs include evidence-based didactic content as well as “participation in quality improvement processes and systems to measure client outcomes and identify hazards and errors” (18VAC90-27-90. p.13).
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) requires that schools of nursing provide students with the concepts of evidence based nursing practice and how nursing practice is based on sound evidence (Jukkala, 2016). Although these concepts are woven throughout the nursing curriculum at James Madison University (JMU), one course, Nursing Inquiry (NSG 450), is focused on identifying a quality improvement project finding evidence in the literature to support a practice change, and presenting that evidence to the school’s community partners and stakeholders.
Student engagement is an essential part of the Nursing Inquiry course. Teams of students collaborate to identify issues of concern or trends in current clinical practice. Once the issue has been identified, a research question is developed and the students begin to search the evidence to find resolutions. The JMU library provides the teams with the resources necessary to adequately research the existing literature. The potential of working in conjunction with clinical partners would enhance identification of needed improvement projects as well as assist in the development of solutions.
Design and Implementation
The proposed project provided opportunities for nursing student teams to collaborate with clinical partners in identifying areas for quality improvement at the clinical partner sites. Use of virtual meeting platforms to meet with registered nurses in practice and discuss clinical improvement projects enhanced the student teams’ ability to develop projects that have unique impact on nursing practice. Once the project focus was identified, in conjunction with the clinical partner, student teams developed research questions, worked closely with course faculty and the nursing library liaison, and formulated a plan for resolution based on evidence in the literature.
This format engaged the students in their learning, supported engagement with clinical partners, and supported their future engagement in practice at local, state, and national levels.
Understanding the evidence behind nursing interventions allows the clinician to practice safely and leads to positive patient outcomes. Learning to work as a team to resolve a clinical issue deepens the students’ understanding of application to clinical practice and the crucial role nurses play in patient outcomes.
Foss and colleagues (2014) developed a Collaborative Model of Best Practice (CMBP) to explore the collaborating of nursing students with nurses in practice to promote the use of evidence-based research in the clinical environment. They found that involving practicing nurses in the development of student projects benefitted the students’ understanding of how current evidence is used to improve patient outcomes. Keib and colleagues (2017) found that collaborating with registered nurses in developing a research question directly related to practice improved both nursing students’ perceptions of research and their confidence in using research in practice.
The change to the Nursing Inquiry course was designed to ensure the course has relevance to the nursing students and will enhance relationships with the school of nursing’s clinical partners. Consultation from the Libraries and Educational Technologies helped ensure the course has rigor and provided assistance with creative technologies to be used in the classroom. Working collaboratively with clinical partners is essential to many of the health science programs. Creating an instructional strategy to introduce health sciences students to this collaboration will enhance future multidisciplinary collaboration once current students have entered practice.
The intended outcome of the innovative teaching project was to deepen the students’ understanding of evidence based nursing practice and to create connections between theory and practice with clinical partners. It is expected that the collaboration with registered nurses in practice will benefit the students as well as the clinical partners.
Budget and Dissemination
The budget was allocated toward the creation of posters, as well as professional development funding. Dissemination of the student team projects occurred at the end of the semester in poster presentations at the clinical partner sites. Student teams collaborated with registered nurses to present their research question, literature review, and recommendations in response to the clinical question. At the completion of the project and study, results were presented at nursing education conferences.
Foss, J. E., Kvigne, K., Larsson, B. W., & Athlin, E. (2014). A model (CMBP) for collaboration between university college and nursing practice to promote research utilization in students’
clinical placements: A pilot study. Nurse Education in Practice, 14, 396-402.
Jukkala, A., M., Miltner, R. S., Morrison, S. L., Gisiger-Camata, S., Todd, Allison, Moneyham, L. D., & Meneses, K. M. (2016). A team approach to enhance scholarship among honors nursing
students. Nursing Education Perspectives, 37(3), 177-179. doi: 10.5480/14-1447
Virginia Board of Nursing. (2017). Regulations for nursing education programs. Retrieved from http://www.dhp.virginia.gov/nursing/nursing_laws_regs.htm