Institutions across the UK were faced with a difficult question: how can student nurses gain practical, clinical, skills in the unprecedented circumstances of national lockdown?
The Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care innovated to meet the needs of its students. King’s students who were already in a voluntary role were able to take a pathway that let them convert their hours volunteering into practice learning. To gain credit they needed to have their hours validated by the organisation where they volunteered as well as completing a reflective essay and activity log. But what about students who weren’t already volunteering and didn’t have any kind of placement available to them? They needed to earn their practice hours at a distance.
The e-learning pathway of the Practicum was developed to give students the tools and hours they needed to progress in their studies, even without physically being on placement. Through the pathway, King’s students explore and develop the values and professional attributes required of future nurses. Rather than teaching theory and preparing students for academic assessment, the Practicum focuses on the experience of nursing and fosters a holistic understanding of delivering clinical care.
Six specialist areas of clinical care are included in the pathway: substance misuse; homeless health; safeguarding & domestic violence; COVID-19; vaccination; and smoking cessation. Students approach each area as if they are on placement; making connections between their in-class learning, keeping an activity log, and writing a reflective piece on what they have discovered about the subject and how it will influence their nursing.