1. Winters, Charlene DNSc, APRN,BC

Article Content


To describe a faculty-supervised research practicum used to develop CNS competencies and provide context for quality patient outcomes.



CNS competencies and quality patient outcomes can be significantly influenced by the context in which care is implemented. "Rural context" encompasses the physical setting and the culture created by the similarities and bonds found among persons living and working in sparsely populated areas. Understanding and addressing the context of rural nursing practice and the rural component of an individual's life is intrinsic to developing CNS competencies and baseline data for planning effective interventions and positive outcomes.



For more than 20 years, graduate students taking the rural health course at Montana State University have participated in a faculty-supervised research practicum to explore a variety of issues related to the health needs of rural dwellers. We have found that these activities provide the students with opportunities to better understand the people and communities where they will practice (context) while developing the essential skills needed for advance practice nursing. The focus of this abstract is on the processes and activities used to implement the research practicum and develop essential CNS competencies.



Under faculty guidance, the students work individually or in groups to identify a problem of interest, collect and analyze data, and identify implications for advanced practice. Much of the student's work is conducted via distance using telephone, teleconference, and video conferencing.



Students have successfully completed research studies, presented at professional conferences, and have published their work. The research practicum has provided data for the development of rural nursing theory and added to the students' understanding of the health needs of rural persons and the essential competencies of rural CNS practice. The students report that they feel prepared to practice in a rural setting and assist patients to achieve positive health outcomes.



Faculty-supervised research practicum can be successfully used to develop CNS competencies and provide context for quality patient outcomes.


Implications for Practice:

CNSs living and practicing in rural areas face unique challenges. Knowledge of the rural context and competencies specific to rural nursing practice are essential to the achievement of quality patient outcomes.