Help Nurse Practitioner Students Receive Adequate Clinical Sites, Not Just Clinical Time

Help Nurse Practitioner Students Receive Adequate Clinical Sites, Not Just Clinical Time

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Why this petition matters

Started by Anne Simmons

Nursing schools across the country are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). This accrediting body is officially recognized by the Department of Education as a national accreditation agency for undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate programs. The overarching goal of an accrediting agency is to guarantee the reliability and quality of a program for which students pay tens of thousands of dollars each year.

The following requirements are listed in the CCNE Standards of Accreditation Handbook:

1.     Clinical sites are sufficient, appropriate, and available to achieve the program’s mission, goals, and expected outcome (CCNE, 2018).

2.     Preceptors have the expertise to support student achievement of expected outcomes. The program ensures that preceptor performance meets expectations (CCNE, 2018).

These Standards for Accreditation at the graduate level are not currently being met by universities across the countries. My school just gained re-accreditation despite sub-par clinical sites, unfitting preceptors, and over-admission of students.

At my school: 38 clinical sites were available for selection for spring of 2022. There are over 40 students in just my class. These clinical sites were the available sites to both full and part-time students. One third of these sites were only partial hours, one third of these sites were over 65+ miles away (some greater than 100 miles), and only three sites were designated as primary care facilities. The rest of the sites were specialty offices such as allergy and immunology, pediatric cardiology, adult cardiology, and pediatric-only primary care.

Due to the lack of sites for students, many sites were considered primary care, even though they were specialties (e.g., pediatrics, women’s health, cardiology), for students to reach 240 required hours for the semester. We feel this is a dishonest approach to clinical hours. These clinical sites are not sufficient or appropriate and do not meet the program’s mission, goals, and expected outcomes.

We, the students, also recognize a lack of transparency by public institutions when reporting clinical hours. Public universities are required to report clinical hours to the CCNE; however, they do NOT have to report where those clinical hours have been completed. This circumvents the requirements for sufficient clinical sites and expert preceptors.

For a real-life example of how this has impacted students, one of the students in my program completed all 240 hours in urology for the fall of 2021. She is a family nurse practitioner student. None of her hours so far have been in primary care.

If this has affected you, or you would like to support the cause, please sign the petition to have the CCNE change the Standards of Accreditation to reflect the following: 

1. The CCNE must require schools to disclose where students receive their hours; more than half the hours must be accrued within the students' specialty. E.g., if a student is a Family Nurse Practitioner student, they must receive MORE THAN HALF their hours in family practice. 

2.     As a part of accreditation, nursing schools must make it public information how many hours are accumulated from specialty practices and how many hours are from general practice. 

3.     As a part of accreditation, schools must make it clear that not all clinical sites will be relevant to their chosen field. 

458 have signed. Let’s get to 500!