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New Online Training Program Will Support, Increase Number of Clinical Nurse Specialist Preceptors

Program was developed by Indiana University School of Nursing and the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists

The nursing shortage has been exacerbated by the lack of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), including clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) who act as preceptors for nursing students pursuing advanced nursing degrees. To help prepare more CNS preceptors and address the nursing shortage, the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) and the Indiana University School of Nursing created “Developing Your Skills as a Clinical Nurse Specialist Preceptor,” an online training program for CNS preceptors who work with students doing clinical rotations. The self-study course provides nursing programs and CNS preceptors with tips and tools for working with students, and allows them to complete the course on their own schedule.

“APRN programs are struggling to provide an adequate number of clinical training sites with qualified well-prepared preceptors, and that struggle is growing for CNS programs,” said NACNS President Sharon Horner, PhD, RN, MC-CNS, FAAN, who is also a professor at the University of Texas in Austin. “CNS students must have a minimum of 500 hours of precepted clinical experience in their area of specialty and in many areas of the country there are not nearly enough CNS preceptors to fill that need. We hope this online program will make it easier for more CNSs to take on the preceptor role to help us prepare the next generation of CNSs as they work to continually improve health and health care.”

The program includes three modules: Organizing the Learning Experience, Engaging the Student, and Providing Useful Feedback. Among the topics addressed are: how to start the process of talking with prospective students about expectations and fit; strategies and best practices for working with students and faculty; teaching approaches; CNS competency areas; and providing feedback to students and faculty members.

“The clinical nurse specialist role is critical to providing the best care for patients in a safe environment,” said Janet Fulton, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, FAAN, associate dean for graduate programs at Indiana University School of Nursing. “The expertise that these advanced practice professionals provide increases the effectiveness of transitioning care from the hospital to patients’ homes and prevents readmissions. And, they lead the key clinical teams that improve the quality and safety of care and help to reduce health care costs. This online training program empowers preceptors to convey their knowledge and expertise to the next generation of CNSs, thereby increasing that much-needed pool of expertise available to hospitals and patients. As a leader in CNS education, Indiana University School of Nursing is proud to partner with the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists, the national voice for CNSs in practice and education.”

More information about the program is available here.

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