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Enhancing communication in clinical nursing education

Eunjeong Kim
Morton College

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Jacqueline Puppe, MSN, RN
Jackie Puppe teaching at the Department of Nursing at Mayo Clinic Rochester who is member of the Thoracic Surgery Progressive Care Unit and the Multidisciplinary Simulation Center. She has experience in Surgical /Trauma ICU and ENT/Plastics/General Care as a staff nurse, also worked as a charge nurse and preceptor. Jackie taught at Luther College for 6 years. She has a passion for working with preceptors and orienteers to provide an individualized orientation.
April Rowe Neal, Ms, Rn
April Rowe Neal teaches as an assistant professor in the Department of Nursing at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. She is working as the course coordinator and clinical instructor for the junior level medical-surgical nursing courses, a position she shared with her colleague, Jacqueline Puppe. April also holds a supplemental position as a staff nurse in the medical/surgical and Special Care Unit at Olmsted Medical Center in Rochester, Minnesota. Her interest reseach includes neurosurgical, surgical-trauma, critical care, and emergency nursing and spans 11 years.
In the setting of clinical nursing education, there can be a breakdown in the relationship between faculty, staff, and students, which can be a negative influence to patient care. Therefore, making clear the roles of clinical nurses, staffs, faculties, and students is very important. This article suggests the chart of each parts’ roles and a sheet for student skills inventory, which can be an efficient tool for communication between students and the clinical nurses. Preconference before the clinic the session start and clarifying the roles and assignment before the day will improve the quality of clinical education. The nurse’s feedback and their suggestion will be valuable sources for the improvement for faculty’s teaching and the curriculum.

The background of this article is the importance of the communication, which is the one of seven National Patient Safe Goals. When working gaps were recognized among faculty, the nursing students, and nursing staff, the need for clarifying roles and safe communication was found. Some assumptions were found that clinical nurses are prepared to be a role of nurse preceptor. Many clinical nurses are little prepared and have little adjustment in their job and recognition. For efficient education and patient safety, clinical nursed and clinical faculty must be able to clearly communicate to guide student decision making.
Communication tips are given to faculty, clinical nurses, and students. For faculty, a chart called “Student skills inventory for clinical staff” is an efficient tool for communication between student and clinical nurses. Clinical faculty participation to student education can be encouragement for clinical nurse’s participation in student learning. Meetings before the semester or clinical experiences can help clear up roles, needs, and expectations. In addition, the specific questions of faculty enhances student’s reflection of their clinicals and help to facilitate critical thinking.
For clinical nurses, it is encouraged to welcome students and have interest in nursing students and be sure to have discussion with faculty to verify or clarify their roles and divisions. They can be active examples of clinical nursing roles. Clinical nurses’ thinking out aloud and demonstration of their clinical decision-making, care planning and critical thinking process is valuable. Nurses’ feedback to nursing student can achieve student’s learning needs and goals. Constructive feedback (which many perceive as negative feedback) can be sandwiched with positive feedback. The clinical nurse’s feedback about nursing student is useful for future teaching and curriculum. Feedback should be greatly valued to improving safety and competent practitioners.
Another way for building connection is that including faculty and students in the unit’s work routine by considering faculty and student as an asset for patient care. Giving assignment of helping patient’s’ emotional needs to student is a good example and giving a challenging assignment with extra coaching can be an positive learning experience for the student.

Changing the approach for improving the clinical learning, which can ensure the safety of patients, improving learning opportunities for students, and helping relieve the stress of nursing staff, and improve faculty’s role to give positive learning environment for all stakeholders (Puppe, 2014). Making it clear of roles of student, staff, and faculty improves the co-working and foster mutual trust and open communication. This article helps nursing student to think about and prepare efficient communication and their role at the clinical.

Puppe, J, Neal, A R. Enhancing communication in clinical education: Nursing 2014 Oct; 44 (10): 1-5

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