Clinical Preceptor | The clinical nurse specialist (CLS) has emerged as the preferred candidate for many positions in the health care industry, as a result of the dramatic increase in the number of graduates from nursing school over the last few years. These changes have sparked a new trend towards the development of clinical nurse specialists who are now employed as nurses’ aides and clinical research associates within the hospitals and clinics. In many ways, this shift in the health care profession has been accompanied by an increase in the number of clinical nurse practitioners – referred to simply as CNs in professional journals – who are pursuing an advanced degree in nursing. This article discusses the academic background and training of these clinical nurse practitioners, the reasons for their preference for this career path, the practical implementation of training by practicing clinical nurse specialists, the implications for future nursing recruitment and staffing, and the future scope for nurse practitioner programs.
Clinical Nurse Practitioner Workforce Development Needs to Focus on Collaboration
According to recent reports, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of students enrolling in master’s and doctorate degree programs in clinical sciences over the past two to three years. Graduate faculty at the leading universities throughout the United States has increased dramatically, with an additional twenty to thirty new clinical preceptor positions opening up each year at top colleges and universities. As a result, the pool of available clinical nurse specialists rapidly increased, making it more difficult for current graduate students to secure positions in the field. In addition, there are now a significantly higher number of clinical preceptor positions than traditionally-designed doctorate degree programs, according to the latest survey data.
According to the survey data, there are now an unprecedented number of clinical preceptor clinical faculty members. In an effort to address the needs of both current and future students, many colleges and universities across the country have implemented programs that require students to work with clinical preceptor faculty members in supervised clinical rotas and workshops. While these programs typically focus on specific areas of nursing care and practice, there is no clear evidence that increased collaboration between clinical preceptors and nursing care professionals leads to better practice or better job satisfaction. Many studies have examined the impact of collaborative clinical rotas, however, and these studies reveal few benefits beyond those connected to increased professional contact. While these studies clearly demonstrate a need for improved collaboration between clinical preceptor faculty and nursing care professionals, these studies also indicate that colleges and universities may not be implementing strategies that truly maximize the benefits of their academic programs.