Guidelines for Assessment & Clinicals
Overview of Clinical Courses
There are five clinical courses associated with both the FNP an ANP options. The first course, Advanced Physical Assessment (NS 830) is the foundation to the remaining clinical courses. Two support science courses, i.e., NS 838 Advanced Pathophysiology, NS 836 Pharmacology for Nurse Practitioners, must be taken prior to Primary Care of Children and Adolescents (NS 840)/ Behavioral Health Care for Practitioners (NS 841). NS 834 (Advanced Nutrition) can be taken concurrently with NS 840/841 or prior to these courses. The student will complete 50 on-site clinical hours with an approved preceptor and clinical site for the assessment course (NS 830); 120 hours on-site clinical hours are to be completed in NS 832. The student will complete 160 on-site clinical contact hours for each of the remaining clinical courses. All clinical experiences require an approved preceptor and clinical site.
Preparation for Clinical Courses
Planned clinical experiences, with competent mentoring and support are essential components toward your learning necessary clinical skills for the nurse practitioner role. We expect that under careful and thorough supervision from your clinical preceptor, you will apply what you learn while working with clients in actual primary care settings. Under course faculty and preceptor guidance, you will be expected to integrate clinical experiences with theoretical content learned from the core and support courses, and from clinical class discussion, readings, clinical rounds, evidence-based practice standards and practice guidelines. In addition to your assigned course readings, you will need to spend additional time preparing for clinical by reviewing current textbooks, relevant professional journals and web-based information sources.
In order to begin clinical courses, you must establish a preceptor and clinical site relationship. The process for establishing preceptor relationships and clinical site identification is explained below. Note: This process can take up to two months to complete, so do not wait to establish your clinical contacts. Use of military preceptors or sites may require lead-time of six to 12 months to complete the contract arrangements. It is important for you to read, understand and follow these directions upon entry into the NP programs so plans may be made well in advance to locate an experience that will be of benefit to you as you progress through the program.
Preparation for Preceptor & Clinical Site Selection
All clinical experiences in the NP programs are to occur with competent preceptor mentoring and support in order to ensure students obtain clinical skills appropriate for the NP role. Therefore, all clinical preceptor(s) and clinical site(s) must be pre-approved by the NP Coordinator.
Approval of a clinical preceptor and clinical site must be obtained prior to beginning each NP clinical course. The student is responsible for identifying a preceptor(s) who is/are appropriate for each clinical experience. Since our students live in many cities throughout the United States, you must begin to locate a general practice preceptor and clinical site that best suits your educational needs. You should begin interviewing and delineating appropriate general practice preceptors and clinical sites as soon as you have been accepted to the NP programs at Clarkson College. This is even more crucial for students who are entering Nurse Practitioner Certificate programs at Clarkson College.
Preceptor & Clinical Site Selection, Approval & Agreement Process
One of your first tasks in preparation for entry into the clinical tract will be to locate and secure the written intent of at least one general practice primary care provider prior to registration in NS 830 (Advanced Physical Assessment). This person (or persons) will act as your preceptor as you progress through the 50 contact hours to learn advanced clinical assessment skills. You may wish to also use this person in future clinical courses.
To assure that you are able to fulfill your clinical obligations for each course, it is important for you to carefully screen and select preceptors who have the time to devote to you and who are willing to allow hands-on practice and clinical recording using their patients.
Basic preceptor qualifications that must be met for all clinical courses in the NP major option include the following:
- The preceptor must be a physician (MD), osteopathic physician (DO), or nurse practitioner (NP) who is currently licensed in the state in which you intend to conduct your clinical (with exception of providers working in US government settings). The preceptor must be practicing in an area related to content in the course in which you are registered (see Primary Care Preceptor Guidelines for each NP course in the Appendix).
- All NP preceptors need to have two years work experience as a licensed advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP). Furthermore, it is strongly recommended that you engage masters prepared NPs as your preceptors. Use of this level nurse practitioner is important in conveying the philosophy embodied in masters-level education as you learn the role for the identical preparation. The scope of MSN practice is often broader. A BSN prepared nurse practitioner who is nationally certified as an NP or as a subspecialty nurse practitioner may also be used when specific course content is required. Non-MSN prepared practitioners, who are not nationally certified as advanced nurse practitioners, may not be used for any of the assessment or clinical courses at Clarkson College.
- It should not be necessary for you to have more than three preceptors for NU 830 or subsequent NP courses. If you have more than three preceptors, it usually becomes very difficult to establish the rapport necessary for a mentoring relationship and it often dilutes the preceptor’s ability to provide a fair and objective appraisal of your performance.
Clinical Site Qualifications
Appropriate clinical sites include primary care offices, outpatient primary care clinics, public health or rural health clinics. Emergency rooms may be used (with approval) on a limited basis.
YOUR CLINICAL EXPERIENCE CANNOT BEGIN UNTIL YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN PERMISSION BY THE CLARKSON COLLEGE COURSE FACULTY.
Other Student Responsibilities when Registered in NP Assessment & Clinical Courses
In addition to obtaining a preceptor and clinical sites, the NP student is responsible for:
- Following the administrative policies, regulations, standards, practices (e.g., universal precautions) and procedures of the contracted (affiliated) clinical facilities.
- Safeguarding the confidentiality of client information.
- Providing their own transportation to and from the clinical facilities.
- Reporting to the preceptor on time and as scheduled.
- Providing College faculty appropriate notification when conflicts occur.
- Conforming to the standards of professional practice established by the preceptor, affiliated clinical facilities, and any applicable regulating body while participating in the preceptor experience.
- Maintaining RN licensure and Basic Life Support certification.
- Wearing a Clarkson College identification badge while in the clinical practice area. Arrangements for the badge will occur when you are on campus either for GR 799 or during the graduate weekend for NS 830.
- Checking e-mail daily. Students registered in NP courses are expected to check their student e-mail account frequently.
- Keeping the course faculty fully apprised of your ability to complete the clinical hours in the expected time frame. If it becomes apparent to you that your approved preceptor will be unable to meet his/her agreed upon obligations, it is your responsibility to inform the course faculty of the situation and to promptly locate an alternative preceptor under whom the expectations can be met. If it becomes apparent that the expected time frame cannot be met, it is your responsibility to drop the class after discussion with the course faculty and your advisor.
- Keeping the course faculty/advisor or director apprised of any personal crisis that arises that may prevent completion of any courses while attending Clarkson College. All faculty and administrators are well aware that certain situations may arise while students are enrolled in the graduate program and make every effort to help you decide what can and should be done about your educational responsibilities at this time of crisis. The key to any sound decision or alternative plan requires that you make Clarkson College fully aware of your situation. Decisions about tuition refund, dropping a course or courses, taking a leave of absence, obtaining assistance from Student Services can be done in a satisfactory manner when you notify and discuss the situation with the course faculty, your advisor or the Director of the Graduate Nursing program immediately.
Course, student and faculty evaluations are an expected part of any educational experience. These evaluations are important not only because they are required by regional and national accrediting bodies but they provide information that leads to future improvement of the student, program and Clarkson College. Grading in the clinical track includes consideration of your preceptor’s appraisal of your skills, clinical logs, the quality of your written assignments, your contributions to group discussions and your performance on written and/or on-site clinical examinations. Discussion of each evaluation method follows.
Preceptor(s) Evaluation of Students
While the clinical faculty is responsible for issuing the final course grade, preceptor appraisal is an important aspect of the faculty’s evaluation of each student. The course faculty contacts preceptors at least once during each clinical course for appraisal of each student’s clinical performance. You are expected to inform each preceptor prior to the beginning of the clinical experience about course-related information. When discussing the clinical courses, you should assure that the preceptor is willing to participate in written narrative appraisal of your progress.
At mid-term, the student will download the clinical evaluation form and give it to each preceptor. These forms are to be completed by your preceptor(s) within a two-week time frame. The preceptor is to return the completed form to the course faculty. The clinical evaluation form will be downloaded near the end of the course. This form is to be given to the preceptor(s) for them to complete and return to the course faculty by the end of the course.