All students in Gonzaga University’s Psychiatric Mental Health (PMH) options of the graduate nursing program are Registered Nurses with experience in one or more areas of psychiatric or general nursing practice. Each brings a unique background of specialty and experience to the advanced practice nurse role.
While all students progress at different rates as they gain mastery of the advanced practice PMH nursing role, in general, students are expected to make steady progress toward improving their ability and gaining confidence throughout each semester.
The Clinical Experience
Clinical experiences should provide opportunities for students to be actively engaged in activities of the advanced practice role and to work directly with patients. Therefore, PMH students can spend only 15% of their time, at most, in the clinical setting doing any kind of observation.Generally, the sooner students get involved, the better. However, you must balance their needs with your comfort in their assessment and clinical reasoning skills.
After the student completes a brief orientation to your clinical setting, have your student accompany while you see clients/patients for a short while so that she or he can observe your practice style and interactions with clients/patients. At the end of this time, allow the student to evaluate clients/patients more independently and present her/his cases to you or to participate in other activities related to the advanced practice role in your facility.
In working with PMH students you are encouraged to:
- Meet regularly with the student to discuss progress in the clinical setting. Be specific in giving the student feedback about strengths as well areas in which she or he needs to make improvements.
- Occasionally observe the student interacting with clients/patients or implementing other aspects of the advanced practice role if appropriate in your setting, if time allows.
- Evaluate the student’s ability to present assessment findings to you succinctly and discuss her or his diagnoses and interventions if appropriate.
At the start of their practicum courses, students are made aware of the following responsibilities:
- Meet with you before beginning their clinical experience. Give you a copy of their CV or resume and a copy of their written learning goals for the experience. Confirm that you understand the responsibility for evaluating their performance throughout the experience. Clarify your expectations for dress code, documentation, and any other practice habits of importance.
- Contact you to confirm their schedule approximately two weeks before they begin each clinical rotation.
- Notify you and your staff if appropriate about any changes in their scheduled clinical experience, including any absence due to illness.
- Prepare written learning goals and objectives for their learning experience.
- Meet regularly with you, formally or informally. Use this meeting to review their written objectives, discuss pertinent cases, review documentation, and to request feedback about their performance.
- Work with you and clinical faculty to schedule a clinical site visit.
- Represent Gonzaga University professionally:
- Wear the nametag that identifies them as a Gonzaga university student.
- Follow the organization’s dress code and documentation policies.
- Sign documentation,”[initial or first name and last name]’ RN’ graduate student, Gonzaga University.
- Notify a University faculty member if the student is experiencing any problems with your clinical site or you.
- Near the end of the experience, remind you of the responsibility for completing their clinical evaluation. This form serves as documentation of the student's performance in the clinical setting and will be part of their permanent record at Gonzaga University.