NEW YORK NURSE: October 2011
Q.: I am a new faculty member in a baccalaureate nursing program in upstate New York. Am I required to be physically present on the clinical unit with Junior-year students during their first clinical learning experience outside of the classroom?
A.: There is not a definitive answer to this question because several factors must be taken into consideration including New York State laws, rules and regulations regarding faculty responsibilities.
State laws and regulations indicate that it is the responsibility of faculty to plan, implement and evaluate curriculum; select the appropriate learning activities to assist the student to meet clinical and course objectives; and to evaluate whether or not the student meets the objectives of both didactic and clinical courses. Further information about the laws and regulations can be found at www.op.nysed.gov/prof/nurse/nurselaw.htm.
Regulations also specify that contracts are established between the school of nursing and the agency that provides the environment for clinical learning. The contract will indicate the responsibility of the agency and the school and should specify whether or not the faculty are expected or required to be present at all times on the clinical unit, or whether availability by telephone is acceptable. You should review the contract for your school’s program and consult with the chair of your program to determine your role as faculty with clinical students. It is imperative that faculty adhere to the established contract.
Preceptors frequently work with students during their final clinical experience, but availability of faculty during their first clinical experience is essential since faculty are responsible for determining the nature and degree of supervision a student needs based on their assessment of the student’s knowledge and competencies. In any case, consultation with your program chair is advised.
Finally, remember that faculty should model and maintain open communication and collaboration with nursing staff on the clinical unit since these registered nurses are ultimately responsible for the quality and safety of the care provided to their patients.
This is a sample of the questions NYSNA’s experts answer each day. The advice given is specific for the situation described and may not be applicable generally. If you have questions about your own work setting, it is recommended that you contact your NYSNA nursing representative or the Education, Practice, and Research Program, 11 Cornell Road, Latham, New York 12110-1499 or call 800-724-NYRN, ext. 282.