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: