Nursing Education and Research Practicum

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Research Practicum In Nursing Education

Nursing Education and Research Practicum

What is Research Practicum,Need Research Practicum In Nursing Education,Benefits of Research Practicum,How to Design Research Practicum.

What is Research Practicum

    A research practicum (RP) can be defined as a course of study that involves the supervised practical application of previously acquired knowledge, skills, and theories of research (Mount Holyoke College, 2014). The term research means a systematic investigation designed to develop or contribute to generalization knowledge (Research, 2013). The word practicum (Plural practicum) was first used in 1904, originated from the German word Praktikum (Latin practicum), and is synonymous with externship, internship, apprentice ship, and training (Practicum, nd Practicum, 2014). 

    A practicum can be a school or college course in a specialized field of study that is designed to give students supervised practical application of previously studied theory. The title practicum generally refers to on the job training. It is a common graduation requirement in a number of majors including graduate and undergraduate nursing programs. In nursing, the practicum can be in education, clinical practice, research, management, or administration.

Need Research Practicum In Nursing Education

    RP is an effective teaching method that facilitates a hands on or immersion experience for students. As a unique opportunity designed for highly motivated students, eligibility requirements may be stipulated by the university or department, and entry into this course may be through a strict filtering process. Objectives of RP may include to provide practical and guided experience that demonstrates aspects of the collaborative research. process, apply knowledge of research methods in the research setting, obtain a positive experience on research, gain valuable professional development training, prepare students for graduate school, and assist students in choosing a career path (Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, 2014) .

     The practicum exposes the students to the delights and frustrations involved in research as well.The credits for an RP can be based on course duration, and can be determined by the faculty and the student based on the curriculum. The RP can be faculty, preceptor, or mentor directed, and be done at an external agency. If the RP is with an external agency, identifying a competent research mentor and maintaining ongoing open communication between the student, mentor, and the faculty is important for successful completion. The roles, responsibilities, and timeline must be clearly identified.

    Based on the level of involvement, the students may have to complete the human subjects' protection training required by the university and external agency. The tasks assigned to the students may include data. collection, data entry, literature review, questionnaire design, institutional review board. (IRB) application, technique validation, and data analysis (Miller & Rinetelmann, 2007). For active involvement such as data collection, the students must be listed in the IRB application. 

    Otherwise, the students can only work with reidentified data. The student may be responsible for maintaining a code book, data analysis, and reporting in a timely fashion.While not the focus of an RP, the student may present the study along with the faculty or research mentor, or be coauthor on the work. The student may be required to complete a final RP report evaluating the experience. This will help faculty validate the course in meeting the learning objectives and make the needed changes in the RP for future students.

Benefits of Research Practicum

    The RP can be facilitated in two ways: faculty mentored research and collaborative research at a local, national, or international facility. The RP and faculty mentoring have been found to provide a positive experience and confidence in research (Howard, Beauchesne, Shea, & Meservey, 1996; Ravert, Boyer, Harmon, & Scoffield, 2004). Challenges for successful implementation of RP may consist of providing resources, matching schedules, choosing venue for dissemination of results, finding knowledgeable and motivated mentors, planning, and paying attention to detail (Ravert et al., 2004). 

    Academic partnership with other universities, service institutions, or public health and community based settings can also offer opportunities for students to participate in research activities (Frank, 2008).While clinical and practical leadership are well grounded in the current nursing practice, RP is just emerging. With only 1% of nurses conducting research at present, hands on training to students may generate and maintain the passion for research (Deatrick & Given, 2011). It is essential to ensure adequate student preparation to avoid feelings of frustrations and lack of confidence.

How to Design Research Practicum

    It is recommended that careful structuring and preparation of students could offer opportunities for original research (Kirkpatrick, Tweedell, & Semogas, 2011). Furthermore, journaling about the RP experience may help catch those moments to guide students in planning the RP.Early exposure to hands-on research to foster interest and prepare future researchers is recommended. Generating interest early in the RP moves with highs and lows, and is a work in progress. 

    A zealous research mentor can ignite the passion in the students to enjoy research and provide new understanding Faculty should view mentoring as an opportunity to guide students in the RP that may expand the marketability of the students for diverse job opportunities.

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