RESEARCH CORNER: Nontraditional clinical hours for students offer many perks
Abigail Mitchell DHED, MSN, RN
Jennifer Jennings DNP(C), MS, FNP-BC
Jessica Castner MS, RN, CEN

May 2011 
Volume 41  Number 5
Pages 18 - 20
  PDF Version Available!

TRADITIONALLY, CLINICAL rotations consist of two 6-hour shifts per week, informally called the 6/6. Each clinical day typically includes a preconference, patient care, and a postconference. We estimate that a conventional 6/6 schedule might devote 1.5 to 2 hours to pre- and postconferences, reducing the time available for students to immerse themselves in nursing practice or to reflect, process, research best practice, and compare patient care with evidence-based recommendations from the literature.Faculty in our nursing department at D'Youville College, Buffalo, N.Y., believed it was time to offer nontraditional clinical hours to allow a selection of clinical schedules to better meet the needs of the faculty and students. To make it happen, a few faculty members pioneered a clinical format consisting of one 9-hour clinical day and one 3-hour seminar per week. We call this schedule the 9/3.This article explains the benefits of this innovative schedule and describes the outcome of our research project comparing the benefits of the 9/3 with those of the 6/6.The 9/3 clinical consists of one 9-hour shift of patient care, followed by one faculty-led 3-hour seminar 2 days later attended by 8 to 10 students. At this seminar, students are required to provide a presentation about their assigned patients, including patient-care goals and outcomes, and to include evidence-based references that they've researched between their patient-care day and the conference. Faculty members are responsible for their own conference day, which includes presentations from the entire clinical group.Faculty designed the 9/3 format using the teaching-learning principle of immersion. This allows the students to apply their knowledge in the clinical setting for 9 hours, then reflect on and discuss their experiences with their peers and a faculty member in the 3-hour post conference. This discussion covers what they learned, what assessment findings were abnormal, and what they could have done differently

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