1. Borton, Rachel PhD, FNP-FPA
  2. Smith, Karin DNP, NEA-BC, CENP, CCRN-K
  3. Grugan, Amy PhD, RN

Article Content

Graduate advanced practice nursing (APN) students in distance learning programs are challenged with confidence in skills attainment. APN students are introduced to new skills in the digital classroom, use digital avatars to practice, and then, ideally, complete skills in practicum. Student feedback indicated lack of opportunities for skills in practicum such as intrauterine device insertion, casting, joint injections, and Papanicolaou tests. Because clinical opportunities are sometimes limited for online APN students, faculty decided to facilitate a hands-on skills experience. An on-campus skills boot camp was piloted. Students were notified in advance of the on-campus offering, allowing ample time to arrange personal and employment schedules. This was advertised as an initial 2-day offering, with preplanning for a second 2-day offering in case of high demand. The camp cost $400 per student and did not include hotel and transportation to campus. Students were divided into small groups consisting of 4 to 5 students each. Faculty demonstrated with each group how to perform the skill, each student practiced until they verbalized skill confidence, and then students demonstrated competency of the skill with faculty. Thirty students attended, and feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Moving forward, students requested to have the boot camp offered at the beginning and end of practicum rotations.