National Policy Brief: U.S. Nursing Leadership Supports Practice/Academic & Partnerships to Assist the Nursing Workforce during the COVID-19 Crisis
The Connecticut League for Nursing’s Council of Deans & Directors Supports that National Policy Brief and Highlights below how our Colleges and Universities can Partner with Practice Settings to Support a Robust and Safe Nursing Workforce during the COVID-9 Crisis and Aftermath.
This policy brief is a collaborative effort of nursing leaders who propose & support academic/practice partnerships between health care facilities and pre-licensure registered nursing (RN) and practical/vocational nursing (PN/VN) programs across the country during the COVID-19 crisis. This is one potential model to consider. It is not mandated, rather an innovative approach to meeting academic and workforce needs.
COVID-19 is a virus affecting the entire world. To date, thousands of people in the U.S. have tested positive for the disease, and it is anticipated that many more will be affected in the near future. After observing the pattern of the virus, the U.S. anticipates an overabundance of patients inundating hospitals and possibly overwhelming the entire U.S. healthcare system.
Health care facilities and nursing education programs are encouraged to partner during the COVID-19 crisis.
For the past 12 months the leadership of the Schools & Program of Nursing and of Acute Care practice Settings in Connecticut have been actively engaged in work to address:
Pre-licensure RN students from diploma, associate degree and baccalaureate degree nursing programs and PN/VN students from certificate nursing programs could augment and support nursing services in health care facilities.
Propose that our pre-licensure nursing students and associated faculty from our Schools/Programs of Nursing augment the nursing workforce within healthcare facilities in the following areas:
Connecticut practice settings would dictate the employment relationship directly with the pre-licensure student, and the awarding of academic credit for such experiences (Capstone’s) would be decided upon by each academic institution in alignment with current University/College policies and practices.
Moreover, NOT all students may choose to engage in these academic/employment opportunities as their participation is NOT mandatory.
This opportunity will not only provide much needed clinical education to assist in meeting program requirements, it is an unparalleled opportunity for nursing students to assist the nation in a time of crisis and learn the principles of population health and emergency management. This academic-practice model demonstrates that in the midst of a periling disruption in the environment, such as COVID-19, continuous innovation can occur.
1. Health care facilities and nursing programs are encouraged to promulgate plans to take advantage of this opportunity and make every effort to reach out to eligible nursing students and inform them of the opportunity.
Practice Setting will share opportunities with the CT Nurses’ Association, CT Center for Nursing Workforce & CT League for Nursing- RN Student Day Attendees if registered directly with CLN, CT Center for Nursing Workforce to promote; and via their organization’s website, social media, and other communication platforms.
2. Health care facilities and nursing programs are encouraged to collaborate to identify ways to accomplish appropriate faculty supervision of the nursing student-employee to achieve the final learning outcomes of the nursing program. For example,
Options for Engagement & Collaboration:
3. Nursing program leaders/faculty are encouraged to work with health care facility representatives to align clinical skills and competencies with the nursing student-employee work role/responsibilities.
CT’s Schools and Programs of Nursing utilize the Massachusetts Nurse of the Future Core Competencies (MA DOE, 2016) in their curriculum design as well as other best-practice competency models including QSEN.
4. Nursing student-employees must have planned clinical practice experiences that enable the students to attain new knowledge and demonstrate achievement of the final learning outcomes of the nursing program.
The Schools and Programs of Nursing have compiled best-practices, virtual experiences, and simulation that have been distributed to all faculty to ensure that program objectives and outcomes will be met at the end of the final year of study and program completion. As Simulation is an everchanging modality for nursing education, it is imperative that Connecticut Colleges/Universities have the needed resources to ensure program excellence. Through the Healthcare Simulation Network of CT (HSNCT) supported by the Connecticut League for Nursing, leaders of the Simulation Centers can best identify and recommend the critical resources for a robust Simulated Learning experiences that will meet program outcomes at all level.
5. Nursing programs should consult with their State Board of Nursing to ensure clinical requirement regulations would be met with this opportunity and experience.
Through the Council of Deans & Directors, the CT SBEN approved a motion during the March 18, 2020 Nursing Board meeting to approve the use of alternative clinical experiences for nursing students of advanced standing.
6. Nursing programs are responsible for informing nursing students of the risks and responsibilities associated with working in a healthcare facility at this time. Additionally, nursing programs are responsible for communicating with students about their rights to be protected from infection and their options for completing the clinical practice requirements of the nursing program.
Schools and Program of Nursing will not be soliciting students directly to participate in these voluntary work experiences.
Endorsement by National Nursing Organizations and Associations:
Dear Colleagues in Nursing,
The CLN Council of Deans and Directors had a strong and productive academic year. The Council, which is comprised of deans, directors and chairs from schools of nursing in the State of Connecticut representing all entries into nursing practice: LPN, Associate, Baccalaureate, LPN - RN, RN - BSN, Master’s and Doctoral levels, began the year engaging with our new meeting structure. We continued to meet regularly as a council of Deans and Directors, collecting and disseminating information on current issues and concerns that affect nursing education, nursing practice and health care in our state. Built on prior year relationship-building, this year we expanded our meeting schedule to include statewide nurse educators four times a year and the Chief Nursing Officers (CNOs). This allowed the opportunity to expand our influence to ensure a robust nursing workforce for the state.
As a collaborative group of nurse educators, the CLN Council of Deans & Directors commenced quickly and effectively to ensure quality throughout the academic year and continuity throughout this pandemic. These efforts were built on a strong foundation of trust, collegiality and a shared mission to ensure quality nursing care for the State of Connecticut. We wish to thank Marcia Proto for her many years of service to this organization, and the entire staff of CLN for their dedication and unwavering support to nursing education across the state of Connecticut and beyond!
CLN Council Co-Chairs
Meredith Wallace Kazer, PhD, APRN, FAAN, Fairfield University Egan School
Janice Watts, MSN, RN, Goodwin University
The Finance Committee membership is comprised of the Officers (President, President-Elect, Secretary, and Treasurer) and the two appointed members of the Board who make up the membership of the Executive Committee.
It is the responsibility of the Finance Committee to monitor the monthly income and expenditures and recommend to the Board yearly budgets and long-term financial plans for the organization. The committee met and approved a budget for the next fiscal year, July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 which was presented to the full Board and approved in May 2020. The budget will be presented to the general CLN membership at the Annual Meeting on June 23, 2020.
Overall, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020, CLN has remained financially sound with positive cash flow to meet ongoing expenses to operate the CLN office and meet program plan needs. Required financial documents (Federal 990 report) was placed on extension, were prepared and submitted on behalf of CLN by Seward & Monde, Certified Public Accountants, December 19, 2019 to meet federal filing requirements.
Moreover, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CLN in March 2020 applied for and received grant funding from the two federal Small Business Administration opportunities including:
Sheila B. Solernou, MSN, RN
Treasurer & Chair of the Finance Committee
Healthcare Simulation Network of Connecticut (HSNCT)
The Healthcare Simulation Network of Connecticut (HSNCT) is a group of healthcare simulation administrators, educators, and staff dedicated to providing resources, professional development, and networking opportunities in the field of healthcare simulation throughout the State of Connecticut. The mission of the network is to enhance the use of simulation and fully integrate it into academic curricula and assessment of healthcare competencies.
The HSNCT began in 2013 and meetings are hosted quarterly at various healthcare/academic locations across Connecticut. The network continues to grow and provides opportunities for members to collaborate, share knowledge of simulation design, development, implementation, and evaluation strategies, and encourage continued innovation in the way we educate our future healthcare professionals.
In response to member needs during the 2019-2020 academic year, the HSNCT addressed the following topics through presentations and round table discussion: guiding simulation programs in developing a mission and vision statement and a policy manual following the Society for Simulation in Healthcare’s Accreditation Standards 2016; Oxford Medical Simulation Virtual Reality Presentation; developing an escape room. Participation and attendance were comprised of healthcare educators with various levels of expertise in simulation. The plan for the last meeting of the academic year was a four-hour workshop presented by Avkin on simulated participants (patient actors). However, this was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It is our plan to reschedule this presentation in the 2020-21 academic year.
To celebrate Healthcare Simulation Week 2019 sponsored by the Society for Simulation in Health, HSNCT created a CPR simulation and a Safety in the Home simulation. These were dispersed to the membership for use in their institutions to celebrate the week. The simulations could be modified as to the needs of each institution. Members were asked to share how their institution celebrated Healthcare Simulation Week 2019 at the September meeting.
The HSNCT initiatives for 2020-2021 will be guided by member needs and feedback gathered from our members and, will focus on building simulation best practices and promoting sustainability for simulation programs.
Membership in the network is open to those healthcare professionals involved in simulation teaching and learning within academia, practice and other organizations committed to excellence in Simulation.
Rose DeSiena, M.Ed., RN, CHSE, Simulation Coordinator, Southern Connecticut State University
Joan K. Graham, DNP, RN, CNE, CHSE, Professor of Nursing, Three Rivers Community College
Darlene Rogers, BSN, RN, Quinnipiac University
The Program Committee and the ANCC Accredited Provider Unit has supported the following initiatives on behalf of selected populations within the nursing community over the past fiscal year, some with CLN ANCC accredited contact hours and others without.
39th Annual RN Student Day (No contact hours awarded)
CLN celebrated 39 years of its sponsorship of the all-day Annual RN Student Day on November 6, 2019 at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville, CT. This program is a service to students and does not offer contact hours. The theme for this event was “Transforming Your Dreams to Reality – Getting, Keeping, and Loving the Job” with Judith Herrman, PhD, RN, ANEF, FAAN, as keynote speaker. Over 850 students and faculty, and 42 exhibitors were in attendance. During the day students interacted with representatives of multiple employing agencies and other vendors. Peer Recognition Awards are presented to one student from each of the nursing programs in the state. This award, established by CLN, recognizes one outstanding senior nursing student from each member school or program. New this year, a free 2-hour Suicide Prevention workshop was presented for faculty attendees and other CLN members during Student Day. Contact hours were presented by the presenter Robert Havens addressing the QPR Strategy of suicide prevention (Question, Persuade, Refer – three simple steps that gatekeepers can learn to help save a life from suicide).
We extend our grateful thanks to the Sponsors of the 2019 RN Student Day: Charter Oak State College, Employers Reference Source, Inc., Fairfield University Egan School, Quinnipiac University School of Nursing, Sacred Heart University College of Nursing, Sacred Heart University Online Nursing Programs, Southern CT State University, Southern New Hampshire University, SUNY Delhi, University of Bridgeport School of Nursing, and UCONN School of Nursing.
On-the-Ground Workshops (ANCC contact hours for continuing education)
The program committee and the CLN ANCC Accredited Provider Unit offer workshops annually to address the high priority needs of the nursing educator community in the state as identified in a formal needs assessment. Two programs were conducted in this fiscal year.
The first of these workshops titled “Innovations in Nursing Education” was offered on November 7, 2019 at Naugatuck Valley Community College for 4.0 contact hours, with 32 participants in attendance.
The workshop facilitators and topics included:
As an alternate way of addressing the learning needs of its membership, CLN was a sponsor of the Gustin Conference presented by The Hospital for Special Care held on October 21, 2019 at Central Connecticut State University. Karen Drenkard, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, Senior Vice President, Chief Clinical and Nursing Officer at Get Well Network, Bethesda, MD was the Keynote speaker addressing the topic “Patient and Family Engagement”. CLN provided 10 free registrations to CLN members with contact hours provided by The Hospital for Special Care.
A 3-hour workshop titled “Innovative Online Teaching Strategies” with Susan Deane, PhD, RN, CNE, was planned for the spring but was cancelled due to the Covid-19 restrictions. It will be scheduled at a later date when possible.
CLN Continuing Education Online Courses (ANCC contact hours for continuing education)
The all-virtual, four-module 17-week “RN Refresher Course” was offered 6 times this past fiscal year by the CLN ANCC Approved Provider unit and awards (90) Contact Hours for the successful completion of the four modules. The enrollment in module one over this period was 73, a significant increase from any previous year. The students come from a variety of states including California, Connecticut, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. They learned of the course through their respective state boards, the local CLN affiliate, word-of-mouth or in an online search. The course continues to be highly rated by the participants and will continue to be offered at least four times a year. Currently the course faculty are engaged in a continuing effort to review and update the content and format of the course.
RN Re-Entry Boot Camp (NEW Course Offered in May 2020)
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and need to support nurses to re-enter the practice setting, a NEW RN Re-Entry Course was designed and implemented. This “8-Week RN Re-Entry Boot Camp” is based off of our
successful Flagship 17-Week RN Refresher Course and upon completion by the nurse will award (70) Contact Hours.
This faculty led course will transition fully prepared nurses into the hospital setting in a medical/surgical capacity as the COVID-19 pandemic wains to backfill the staffing crisis due to "nurse fatigue" that is now occurring within our practice settings as well as will be evident over the years to come.
The 100% online Boot Camp supports licensed nurses with previous Acute Care, Long-Term Care, or Community/Home Care experience who have been out of the nursing workforce for LESS than 10 years and have an ACTIVE RN license to re-enter the workforce.
The 3-week “Clinical Faculty Course” was first launched for nurse educators in March 2014 and was offered 3 times this past fiscal year by the CLN ANCC Provider Unit. Thirty (30) Contact Hours are awarded to the participant based on successful completion of the Course. There were 45 participants and the Students came from a variety of states including Connecticut, Indiana, Ohio and Massachusetts. They learned of the course through our CT Schools of Nursing, CLN affiliates, word-of-mouth, or an online search. The evaluations continue to be outstanding and nursing faculty have written:
“Wonderful course for clinical instructors to learn and apply techniques to current clinical practice. At first, I was leery of its benefits to me as a practicing clinical instructor with a Master's in Nursing education. I have been pleasantly surprised and grateful for the opportunity to participate in this rich learning environment.”
“This was a very informative course for the novice clinical faculty. Having no experience instructing in the clinical setting, I found the text and supplemental documents valuable in my learning. I now have an increased level of confidence to perform effectively in my future role. I would recommend the course to all graduating MSN students planning on becoming clinical instructors.”
The course will continue to be offered at least 3 - 4 times per year or more frequently as needed. A follow-up study of the participants and their employers was planned for the spring but was postponed due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Credit Course Offered in Partnership with Charter Oak State College
The online 3-credit “LPN to RN Articulation Bridge Course” that is part of the statewide articulation program, was offered collaboratively by CLN and Charter Oak State College once this year in Spring 2020 with 55 students enrolled from the associate degree programs in the state. The enrollment in the Summer 2020 “fast track” session which started in late May 2020 has 13 students. These LPN students will be the first cohort to enter the course with the revised content of the Concept-Based Curriculum used by some of the participating schools.[JM1]
We extend our sincere appreciation to all the members of the Program Committee for their dedicated support of CLN’s programming initiatives. Their efforts have been a key ingredient in the success of the programming this year, and the planning of initiatives for the years ahead.
Program Committee Co-Chairs
Jane E. Murdock, EdD, MSN Kathy Murphy, EdD, MSN, RN, CHSE
Program Committee Members: Beth Boyd, Carol DeGennaro, Ann-Marie Evans, Kim Foito, Mary Joan Forstbauer, Miosotis Garcia, Ginger Goddu, Marlene Hageman, Linda Kapinos, Peggy Mallick, Susan McGinnis, Jane Murdock, Kathy Murphy, Katie Olive, Marcia Proto, Deb Tetreault, Jeanne Thomas, Alicia Zupan, Jillian Zupan.