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Nursing Excellence

The Online Newsletter for Children's Nurses
e-Edition, Issue 8

Marian Facciani

It's Not Your Grandma's Student Program…

By Patricia (PT) Lindsey, MSN, RN, CNS, CPN

In the Old Days

There was a time when nursing students trained while living at the hospital. This sounds very ancient to some, but many nurses today can remember when there were only two nursing schools that trained at Children’s Hospital. However, economic times and the nursing shortage have expanded the opportunities in education. Not only did these schools enlarge, but now nine different nursing schools regularly seek out pediatric training. Other clinical schools have grown as well. Three respiratory care practitioner (RCP) schools request clinical rotations. Paramedic, pharmacist, pharmacy technicians, surgical technicians, radiology technicians, dieticians, interpreters, social workers, physical therapists and child development specialists all seek student experience at Children’s. Who can blame them? Children’s is the best place to learn pediatrics! In 2010, over 1,000 students came through the doors of Children’s Hospital (700-800 nursing students). Gone are the days when a handful of students from a couple of schools came for training. Technology, regulatory practices, and patient safety awareness have had profoundly affected the way we deliver care and instruct future generations. Grandma’s student program needed to be ushered into the 21st century in order to make it manageable. But how?


Three “S’s”

When a program grows to this size, the whole process can seem overwhelming unless one keeps three goals in mind. The program must be simple, standardized and sustainable. That stated, simplicity is not as simple as it sounds. Multiple requirements are needed to keep the students, staff and patients in a safe environment. Facility orientation, training, health requirements and legal contracts are necessary. Various disciplines could no longer utilize different forms, requirements and methods of arranging student placement. Standardizing meant that the same health requirements and forms should be used for every student regardless of discipline or school. 

Next is the need to make the process sustainable. No one person can manage the entire process at all times. Therefore, a system needed to be developed that would allow any member of our team to locate a student in the approval process. A group e-mail, phone line and shared folders were created to allow any team member the opportunity to track details and communication at anytime. Simple, standardized and sustainable…Grandma had the three “R’s”; we have the three “S’s.”


Orientation & Electronic Access

Having a few dozen students come to Children’s for an orientation was easy in the old days. Over time it grew into a twice a month student orientation class to be held year-round. It was not always convenient for our distance learners in the North Valley. A simple way was needed to communicate consistently and easily with over 20 schools and their students. Technology was leveraged to simplify the orientation process by placing all the requirement forms on a web page; “Clinical Student Programs” was created on the Hospital’s website. This web page includes directions for students, school administrators and instructors on the process. 

Today students can complete orientation and related forms at home on their own computer, print and turn them into their instructor. The instructor collects the forms and additional information and turns all information into the department of clinical education and informatics. When all the information is received, students are approved to collect their badges. Grandma has gone online. 

Nursing students need to view the patient’s medical record. Access was easy enough in Grandma’s days. By flipping open the chart and sifting through the pages, the record was literally at one’s fingertips. Technology now has allowed the entire medical record to still be at our fingertips, but with the issue of access. Unfortunately, as non-employees, students had to rely on nursing staff to access the record and stay with the student while the record was open. This pulled the nurses from patient care for considerable amounts of time. Grandma never thought of having an issue with access. 

Fortunately, the installation of Lawson (personnel system) and Lenel (badging system) allows us to enter all students with a unique identity and has paved the way for us to create a badge and electronic access that meets our security standards.  

Education on the navigation of the electronic medical record (EMR) was created in a tutorial and placed on the clinical student programs’ web page for orientation. “View only” student access to the EMR allows the student independent review and frees the bedside nurse.


Future Plans

Information technology services (ITS), in collaboration with the Children’s Hospital Department of Clinical Education & Informatics, is working on the creation of a clinical student access to document assessments, teaching and interventions online, thus creating an experience for the student that simulates the real world of how patient care will look and feel. “View only” EMR access will be expanded to other non-nursing student titles, starting with RCPs. Tutorials will be placed on the website. 

As technology evolves and things Grandma never imagined become reality, the clinical student program will try to keep up. Just as one person cannot manage an entire program, clinical education & informatics would like to thank the many individuals who have contributed to the creation and implementation of these systems, including ITS, human resources, communications & marketing, security, Charlotte Simmons, executive assistant, ITS, and Denise Vermeltfoort, director regulatory and clinical practice. Grandma would be proud.


In This Issue

Nursing Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow - Making A Difference

Nursing Through The Generations

Family Footsteps: Generations of Influence

Family Footsteps: Born To Be…

Family Footsteps: Nursing, It's In The Family

It's Not Your Grandma's Student Program

Nurse of the Year 2011

Evaluation of the Humpty Dumpty Fall Risk Screening Tool

Enhancements to Nursing Professional Practice

Contributions to Practice

Leadership in Professional Nursing Organizations