• Article

Evaluation of the clinical hour requirement and attainment of core clinical competencies by nurse practitioner students

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to analyze the national practice of fulfilling 500 clinical hours as a requirement for graduation from nurse practitioner (NP) programs at the master's level and to compare this standard to a comprehensive approach of evaluating attainment of clinical competencies.

DATA SOURCES: The National Organization of NP Faculties (NONPF) and specialty accreditation bodies publications were used for references to clinical hour and core competency requirements for graduation from NP programs. Data from one university from student documentation on a commercial electronic tracking system were also analyzed.

CONCLUSIONS: Data analysis revealed that the 500 clinical hours correlated to populations, skills performed, required levels of decision making, and expected diagnoses. However, assurance that these clinical hour requirements translated to exposure to all core competencies for entry into practice could not be established.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: A more comprehensive approach to the evaluation of student core competencies by implementing one or more performance-based assessments, such as case-based evaluations, simulations, or objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs), as a strategic part of NP evaluation prior to graduation is proposed. This change is viewed as critical to the continued success of NP programs as master's level education transitions to direct BS to DNP educational preparation for advanced nursing practice.

Citation

Hallas, D., Biesecker, B., Brennan, M., Newland, J. A., & Haber, J. (2012). Evaluation of the clinical hour requirement and attainment of core clinical competencies by nurse practitioner students. Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, 24(9), 544-53. DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-7599.2012.00730.x