HSC Education Days

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Introduction: The innovative restructuring of the UNM College of Nursing Undergraduate clinical placements across various specialties is a good reflection of our colleges' commitment to meeting the needs of our students. Based on cohorts' performance on standardized exams administered through the Health Education Systems Inc (HESI), clinical courses were changed to allow every student to take a didactic course and clinical hours in the specialty areas previously limited to a select number of students.

Methods: The cohort data revealed lower performances on HESI exams within the specialty areas of behavioral health, pediatrics, community, and maternity. The traditional upper-level clinical courses consisted of a one-credit didactic and three-credit clinical composed of 96 hours and focusing on either medical-surgical, acute care, community or capstone. The change split each of the didactics into a total of four blocks of content and four specialty areas. Students received 48 hours of clinical experiences in each block with corresponding didactic content.

Results: Post-implementation, the HESI Exit cohort data was reviewed, and a student satisfaction survey was taken. The HESI Exit data showed cohort performance improvement in all specialty areas. Overall exam scores showed increases as well. The results are currently being analyzed for statistical significance. Survey results were mixed, with some stating, “There was not enough time to get acclimated to a new unit,” and others, “This opportunity opened my eyes to new areas of care in the future.” Barriers: Some potential barriers were the lack of specialty clinical areas, and measurement of learning outcomes with multiple sites.

Conclusion: The cohort outcomes on HESI is a multifaceted endeavor that requires both didactic content and expansion of clinical rotations. By making the changes to the upper-level clinical courses, students were more prepared for the HESI Exit, which predicts future NCLEX performance.



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