The national nursing shortage — well documented and oft cited — has no quick fix. According to researchers at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce in 2015, the major hurdles to training more nurses are lack of facilities, lack of faculty, and lack of clinical placements (19). It’s a stealthy dynamic. Clinical placements are essential for nursing students to graduate into the field, yet there aren’t enough clinical opportunities to go around. The resulting “new normal” shouldn’t surprise us: As reported in Minority Nurse, “To offset the demand some practices and health care practitioners have begun charging students for time spent precepting in their clinics.”
Overlay this ethical miasma with regulatory compliance requirements of staggering detail, and some of the pain points that nurses experience become apparent.
Your papers, please
One hospital in the Midwest, for example, requires the following documentation of every student prior to clinical placement:
- Annual TB test or documentation of past positive TB test and a report of chest x-ray.
- Proof of immunization(s) for Rubella, Rubeola and Mumps or proof of immunity by titer.
- Proof of immunization for Varicella or proof of immunization by titer.
- Proof of immunization for Pertussis (Tdap)
- Proof of immunization for Hepatitis B or proof of immunity by titer.
- Proof of Influenza vaccination for current flu season or exemption form is required each year.
- Current American Heart Association Healthcare Provider CPR card
- Proof of individual health insurance.
- Criminal background check.
- Drug screening.
And we’re not just talking about new nursing graduates in this regard. Travel nursing, a niche of the nursing space that developed in response to the nursing shortage, is overwhelmingly populated by mid- to late-career nurses. One survey found that 56 percent of of travel nurses are over the age of 50. They too must provide an array of credentials when onboarding with a new nursing agency. And it can seem downright quaint, in this age of cloud computing and storage, when a nursing school phrases the instructions for getting one’s paperwork together in terms of old-school, flammable, tree-born paper:
- “You will need to send them front and back copies of all your licenses, certifications, and employment documents like your driver’s license and social security card […] clinical records like immunizations, PPD exams, and physical exams.
- “It’s best to make copies of everything you have in advance.
- “It’s best to save all of your documents as a PDF. Then, save the copies on a cloud storage system like Dropbox, Box, or OneDrive. That way, you’ll have access to them anywhere you have an internet connection.”
Clinical instructors are likewise responsible for a raft of documentation, to include not only one’s state license, but also such items as an American Heart Association healthcare provider CPR card, Accucheck inform blood glucose monitoring competency form, a student roster that includes student health information and background checks, HIPAA confidentiality statement, Bariatric sensitivity training DIV500, and …. You get the picture.
Bridging the gap
A number of clinical-placement software solutions have emerged in recent years, none with the market reach, depth of functionality, and proven track record of CastleBranch Bridges, the most comprehensive clinical-compliance platform ever.
The scheduling power of CB Bridges alone is a preceptor’s anodyne. But CB Bridges goes well beyond clinical rotations to embrace the entire student clinical experience, from enrollment and pre-clinical requirements to clinical placement and scheduling, to orientation, onboarding and evaluation.
Going even beyond all that is FutureFocus, a CB Bridges feature designed to collect and report student data throughout their education and into their career, including accreditation reporting and tracking.
One tool does it all.
HHN magazine recently reported that the nursing shortage is “forcing hospitals to get much more creative to recruit millennial nurses — be it through hefty signing bonuses, flexible hours, college loan forgiveness programs or early career training. Some hospitals are recruiting more aggressively overseas, despite the added frustrations of the visa process and state licensure requirements. But the quick fix to the shortage is still out of reach.
As stated in a white paper from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, “Clinical sites are placing greater compliance-documentation demands on students prior to allowing them to participate in clinical rotations” than ever before. Students and educators alike will find in CB Bridges to be the one tool powerful enough to manage it all and flexible enough to harmonize all the intricacies of clinical placement.
Nursing school is hard enough. Managing one’s credentials shouldn’t be a nursing student’s greatest challenge. Contact us today to learn how CastleBranch Bridges can get you and your students where you all need to be.