Effectiveness of a critical care nursing course: preparing students for practice in critical care.
Experiences in critical care in an undergraduate program provide an opportunity for students to develop beginning knowledge and skills for practice in this setting, gain exposure to the role of the nurse in critical care, and acquire competencies essential for care of any acutely ill patient regardless of health problem and setting. The purposes of this study were to (1) examine the acquisition of basic critical care nursing knowledge after completion of an undergraduate course in critical care, (2) compare the differences in learning between students who completed only the theory component of the course and those who completed both theory and clinical practice in critical care, (3) examine learner perceptions toward critical care nursing, and (4) examine the impact of the course on selection by new graduates of critical care as their practice specialty. A quasi-experimental pretest-posttest design was used with two experimental groups: lecture only and lecture and clinical practice, and a randomized control group. Subjects were 85 senior nursing students in a baccalaureate program in a large metropolitan area in the Midwest. Data were collected by using a demographic data sheet, the Basic Knowledge Assessment Tool (BKAT), the Perceptions of Critical Care Nursing Questionnaire (PCCNQ), and follow-up interviews of graduates who completed the course. Both experimental groups demonstrated a statistically significant increase in learning from pretest and posttest, as measured by the BKAT. There were no significant differences in BKAT scores between the lecture and lecture-clinical practice groups. Mean scores on the BKAT at posttest for the experimental groups, who participated in the course, were significantly higher than the control.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
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