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NURS 6341: Getting Started With the Clinical Practicum Experience

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NURS 6341 Week 1: Getting Started With the Clinical Practicum Experience essay assignment

NURS 6341: Specialty in Clinical Nursing | Week 1 essay assignment

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.

—John F. Kennedy

A nurse educator is an essential leader, one who is both a guide and trainer in the health care field. However, to acquire and maintain a leader’s knowledge and skill, every nurse educator must be a learner as well. Like those you may teach, your own clinical experience is paramount. It is through practice that you best prepare to educate future nurses, staff, or patients by building and cementing, refreshing and refining, your own knowledge and skills.

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This week, you orient yourself to the clinical experience, connecting it to your development as a nurse educator. As with any engagement in direct care, the “3Ps” of the advance practice core—physical assessment, pharmacology, and pathophysiology, are your focus as you concentrate on your chosen area of specialty. At the same time, your purpose goes beyond strengthening and expanding your own clinical practice. Clarifying your goals and expected objectives, as learner and leader, is vital to ensuring that you gain the most from your practicum experience.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Evaluate a clinical specialty as a means to advance knowledge and development as an advanced nurse educator
  • Construct learning objectives to guide practicum experiences*
  • Evaluate contributions of practicum learning experiences to personal development as an advanced nurse educator*
  • Evaluate a practicum experience in the context of quality indicators**
  • Evaluate evidence-base of quality indicators**
  • Construct a detailed practicum log

From the time she began nursing, Miriam wanted to be a nurse educator. She felt she was a natural teacher and could be most effective by preparing new nurses. Yet one requirement of her master’s-level nurse educator program surprised her: the need to choose a clinical specialty of interest. “Why would I need a clinical specialty as a nurse educator?” she thought. “I have been a successful nurse for 6 years. I understand the clinical field; it is teaching strategies and best practices that I need to learn more about.”

Whether you can identify with Miriam’s uncertainty about the clinical specialty requirement, or welcome the opportunity to specialize in a clinical area of particular interest to you, it is essential to approach your practicum experience with an understanding of your chosen specialty of interest and how it can advance your preparation as a nurse educator. It is also important to reflect on the guidelines created by governing nursing bodies, such as the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), that have identified the need for MSN-prepared nurse educators to increase the “depth of his/her understanding of the nursing discipline, nursing practice, and added pedagogical skills…build[ing] on baccalaureate knowledge with graduate-level content in the areas of health assessment, physiology, and pharmacology to strengthen his/her scientific background and facilitate his/her understanding of nursing and health-related information” (AACN, p. 6).

In this Discussion, you prepare for your practicum by sharing your rationale and expectations for your clinical specialty. You also compare your initial thoughts with rationale highlighted by the AACN’s MSN Essentials.

To Prepare

  • Consider the clinical specialty you have chosen for this practicum experience and your reasoning for making this choice. What are your primary goals in selecting this specialty of interest?
  • Review the document The Essentials of Master’s Education in Nursing presented in this week’s Learning Resources. Identify those essentials most directly related to your development as a nurse with advanced practice knowledge.
  • Reflect on your coursework throughout the MSN program. How might your specialty of interest further your growth as an advanced nurse educator?
  • Revisit the MSN Essentials, this time considering how these guidelines might influence your practicum experience. What is required of you as an advanced nurse educator and how can this practicum move you toward meeting those requirements?
  • Review this week’s Learning Resources on crafting learning objectives and think of two or three objectives that could help to guide your development during your practicum.
  • Select one or more objective on which to focus for this Discussion.

NURS 6341: Getting Started With the Clinical Practicum Experience

By Day 3

Post a description of the clinical specialty that you have selected for your practicum experience. Explain how this specialty might expand and advance your current knowledge, as well as how it might contribute to your development as an advanced nurse educator. Describe at least one objective you plan to accomplish during your practicum experience to facilitate your professional growth. Justify your response with references to the MSN Essentials and the practicum experience as appropriate.

Read a selection of your colleagues’ responses.

By Day 6

Respond to at least two of your colleagues on two different days using one or more of the following approaches:

  • Suggest strategies for using the practicum experience to deepen or broaden their knowledge.
  • Offer suggestions for refining their learning objective.
  • Share an insight about the clinical specialty that your colleague has selected. For example, what might he/she expect to learn or experience in this specific environment?

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