The practicum experience helps students transition from the role of learner to that of scholar-practitioner. To achieve this transition, students develop and engage in a relationship with a Clinical Instructor and an approved preceptor, focusing on roles and role functions and the achievement of individualized Learning Objectives. The primary objective of the practicum is to provide students with the basic skills necessary to serve as providers of primary care to selected populations and to prepare students to take the appropriate national certification exam.
Note: Students who changed specializations through enrollment and/or had to reenroll after a break in enrollment are readmitted under a newer catalog than the original catalog of admission. To confirm which catalog you are enrolled under, please contact Student Success Advising.
Walden wants all students to be aware of the costs associated with practicum, which may vary depending on a number of factors. Generally, students will incur and are responsible for paying costs associated with completing practicum. Examples of costs include, but are not limited to, the following: travel to/from practicum site; relocation costs; living costs during practicum; books; course materials; professional liability insurance; onboarding/administrative fees required by practicum sites; health insurance; costs associated with completion/renewal of onboarding requirements (e.g., immunizations, physical exam, CPR certification, HIPAA and OSHA training, etc.); state licensing fees; photo ID badge; additional onboarding requirements of practicum site; lab coat, if required by practicum site; stethoscope (NP courses); additional equipment costs; etc.
Note: Walden does not expect students to pay preceptors, practicum sites, or site placement agencies and discourages students from doing so, due to conflicts of interest that can arise. Students who enter into payment arrangements with preceptors, practicum sites, or site placement agencies do so at their own risk.
Students who have questions about costs associated with practicum should contact Nursing Field Experience Office.
All NP practicum courses are offered through two courses, which includes a didactic and clinical course. The didactic course (NRNP) includes the coursework and instruction to develop fundamental knowledge of the content area. The clinical course (PRAC) includes the opportunity for students to complete the hands-on clinical experience in which students develop applied skills and integrate professional knowledge in providing advanced practice nursing care.
Practicum Courses: Students must successfully complete both the NRNP and PRAC of each practicum course number.
Students must log in to Canvas for both NRNP and PRAC courses as they are separate courses and have different course assignments, requirements, and Instructors.
Students should refer to the course content section of this manual for further guidelines regarding course sequence and prerequisites. Students must contact their student success advisor to plan their program of study. If students receive financial assistance, students are advised to contact the Office of Financial Aid to understand how course registration affects their financial aid package.
Prerequisite Notes: Prior to beginning the practicum component, students must have satisfactorily completed NURS 6501: Advanced Pathophysiology, NURS 6512:Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning, and NURS 6521: Advanced Pharmacology. PMHNP students must also complete NURS 6630: Psychopharmacologic Approaches to Treatment of Psychopathology prior to beginning any practicum class. PNP students must also complete NURS 6800: Advanced Pediatric Development and Behavior prior to beginning any practicum course.
Students enrolled in NURS 6512: Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning and the practicum courses must have access to the following tools to develop their assessment skills in their use of this equipment.
Note: If students drop a NRNP course during the term, students must also drop the corresponding PRAC course because NRNP must be taken prior to or concurrently with the PRAC course.
If an approved preceptor is sick, on leave, serving jury duty or would like the student to log hours with another practitioner to gain additional relevant experiences, students may log hours with another practitioner at the site under the direction of the approved preceptor. The approved preceptor must give approval of this additional practitioner assignment to the student and agree to sign off on these hours in Meditrek®. Students are permitted to log up to a total of 25% of the total practicum hours with other practitioners at the practicum site. If the approved preceptor does not sign off on these hours in Meditrek, the hours will not count towards the hour requirement for the course. Procedures for this additional assignment option are as follows:
If an approved preceptor is not available to precept for 1–2 days, (e.g., sick, on leave, serving jury duty) or would like the student to log hours with another practitioner to gain additional relevant experiences, students may log hours with another practitioner at the site under the direction of the approved preceptor. The approved preceptor must facilitate and give approval of this additional practitioner assignment to the student and agree to sign off on these hours in Meditrek®.
Note: If the approved preceptor does not sign off on these hours in Meditrek, the hours will not count towards the hour requirement for the course.
Students may be allowed to register for two practicum course (PRAC) classes in the same quarter if the following criteria are met and an approved petition is on file with Student Success Advising:
Note: See the course sequence guidelings for NRNP and PRAC guidelines.
Students must identify a potential preceptor and determine if the individual is interested in working with them. If so, students must find out whether this individual meets the qualifications to serve as preceptor. Instructions on how to nominate a preceptor are provided in Section 6: Practicum Approval Process. Students should contact the nursing field experience coordinators as soon as they identify a possible preceptor, and no later than the start of their second term, to nominate the individual to serve as their preceptor. Students should evaluate potential preceptors early by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain feedback about whether the nominee is an acceptable preceptor candidate.
Note: Walden discourages students from paying preceptors, practicum sites, or site placement agencies, due to conflicts of interest that can arise.
Prior to approval, the nominated preceptor’s licensure and certification (if applicable) is verified and reviewed along with the Preceptor Commitment Form by the Office of Field Experience. The specialization coordinator gives final approval of preceptor nominees. Approval of the preceptor is based on the following criteria:
The preceptor has a minimum of one year of postgraduate unsupervised experience, based upon the original date of licensure for licensed practitioners. Their current job role relevant to the NP specialization.
The preceptor is able and willing to commit to the preceptor role for the practicum experience.
The preceptor is employed at the field site where practicum takes place.
The preceptor is not the student's relative, family member, fiancé, roommate, significant other, personal friend, or primary care provider.
The preceptor is not the student's direct or immediate supervisor and dose not report directly to the student.
The preceptor must not be a current Walden nurse practitioner student.
The preceptor has not reached the maximum number of approved students for the 1:1 preceptor to student on-site direct supervision ratio. Preceptors will only be approved to precept up to three Walden University nursing students.
Educational Level Requirement:
More information: Preceptor to Student Ratio
If it is found that a student’s preceptor is a supervisor, direct report, relative, family member, fiancé, roommate, significant other, personal friend or primary care provider, the practicum hours will be rejected and not counted toward the practicum hour requirement. If a student utilizes a preceptor inappropriately as noted above, this may lead to an academic integrity violation up to and including dismissal from the university. Students are responsible for nominating preceptors that fully meet all requirements for preceptors.
Note: Please refer to the “Course Specific Requirements” section for more course-specific requirements for preceptors.
To learn the role of the nurse practitioner, it is required that at least two preceptors be NPs in an area of practice clearly relevant to meeting the objectives of the NP program/specialty. The two different NP preceptors must cover two separate practicum courses. Having two NP co-preceptors for one course does not meet this requirement. Following are additional preceptor requirements:
Note: Approval of the preceptor must occur prior to the student starting the practicum course and logging hours. Students cannot begin logging practicum hours until their practicum application is fully approved, and they have been registered for the course.
Approval will not be granted to use the same preceptor for all four practicum courses. Students are able to use the same preceptor a maximum of two times for all practicum courses with prior approval from the specialty coordinator. Each practicum course has different requirements. It is unlikely that one preceptor will have the expertise with a sufficient number of all four patient populations for students to acquire the appropriate training. It is important to remember that this is an opportunity for students to learn and selecting a preceptor that meets only the minimum requirements will likely result in an inadequate experience.
Students may need additional preceptors in order to meet all the requirements for the course including logging all the required hours and/or patients. If students need to precept with multiple preceptors to meet the course requirements, then they have an option to nominate another person as their supplemental preceptor, provided the supplemental preceptor nominee fulfills the requirements. When students complete their practicum application, they must provide a fully completed application for both their preceptor nominee and their supplemental preceptor nominee. Applications for supplemental preceptor nominees should be submitted as early as possible. However, applications are accepted during the quarter if students need a supplemental preceptor during the quarter to meet the required practicum hours. Applications for supplemental preceptors go through the same review process as other applications.
Example reasons for supplemental preceptors include:
Note: Practicum hours completed under a preceptor other than the preceptor who was identified in a practicum application submitted by the student and approved will be rejected and students will be required to repeat the hours. Failure to notify the Office of Field Experience and assigned faculty as stated above will result in a Code of Conduct inquiry and may result in disciplinary action, including course failure and permanent dismissal from the university. For more information about the Code of Conduct, please refer to the Walden University Student Handbook, Section 3: Student Conduct and Responsibilities.
Walden University’s College of Nursing abides by the appropriate compliance requirements and standards as determined by various state, national, and professional nursing agencies. One standard to which we comply is an on-site preceptor-to-student ratio of 1:1 for direct supervision. While we will approve a preceptor to precept up to three Walden University per term, the preceptor must maintain the 1:1 direct supervision at any given time. Appeals will not be granted if a preceptor has reached the maximum number of students. The purpose of this standard is to ensure that students have a quality experience during their practicum.
The Office of Field Experience reviews, approves, and monitors applications for nominated preceptors for the nurse practitioner programs in the order that applications are submitted. It is highly recommended that upon securing a preceptor, students submit their application in Meditrek® immediately as applications are processed based on the submission date. If a nominated preceptor has met the maximum number of students for which they can precept during the term, the preceptor will not be approved, and the application will be closed. Appeals will not be granted if the preceptor has reached the maximum number of students.
Because circumstances change, sometimes students need to change preceptors before or during their practicum course. Students must receive practicum application approval in Meditrek® for any change of preceptor prior to logging practicum hours.
For Students Who Need to Change Their Preceptor Before Course Begins: Students are required to notify the Office of Field Experience as soon as possible if their approved preceptor becomes unavailable for any reason prior to the beginning of the course, Students must submit a new application in Meditrek® and nominate a new preceptor, who must meet all preceptor requirements. The nominee must be approved before the practicum begins. If the change in preceptorship requires relocation to a new practicum site, then a new Affiliation Agreement will also be needed (if one is not already in place), which will delay the practicum experience until a later term.
For Students Who Need to Change Their Preceptor After Course Begins: Students whose approved preceptor becomes unavailable for any reason after their course begins must notify the Office of Field Experience and faculty member who is teaching the practicum course as soon as possible. Students must submit a new application in Meditrek® and nominate a new preceptor, who must meet all preceptor requirements. The nominee must be approved before the student can continue to log hours. If the change in preceptorship requires relocation to a new practicum site, then it is likely the practicum experience will be delayed.
Students are not permitted to request a change of preceptor or supplemental preceptor if students are dismissed from their preceptor or field site for performance or comportment concerns.
The College of Nursing NP programs allow for students in select specializations and courses to complete practicum experience via telehealth to meet course requirements. Telehealth is the provision of healthcare services remotely by means of electronics and telecommunications technology.
Telehealth for this purpose is defined as synchronous services that occurs when the provider and the patient are interacting with each other in a live real-time manner (e.g., video conferencing). Students may utilize telehealth as a method to deliver patient care under the supervision of their approved preceptor when approved for telehealth. Students must be active participants in the patient visits demonstrating assessment, diagnosis, and treatment planning. Telehealth practicum may be conducted onsite or remotely.
Telehealth for practicum experience is defined as the use of video conferencing with audio support as a means for interacting with preceptors and patients. All students must submit a practicum application for telehealth, even if they will be conducting telehealth with a previously approved preceptor. Students must not log hours via telehealth until the application for telehealth is fully approved in Meditrek®. Practicum hours will not count if the preceptor is not approved for telehealth in Meditrek® with a submitted Telehealth Questionnaire Form. Applications for telehealth go through the standard review, Affiliation Agreement review, and approval process.
If approved for telehealth, the following are acceptable levels of telehealth activity by specialization program and course(s):
Physical in-person practicum experiences are the preferred experience, as they provide a better-quality learning experience (to be physically in the same location of the preceptor), as this experience encompasses the office experience with EMRs, multidisciplinary teams, etc. If approved for telehealth, though, the following are acceptable levels of telehealth activity by specialization program and course(s):
Note: The percentage of telehealth hours is based on the total percentage of the course hours. Also, if students have multiple preceptors for one course, they are still only able to log the percentage of hours for the total hours of the course, NOT by individual preceptor.
Also Note: The recommended format for telehealth is the student at the field site with preceptors together seeing patients through video and audio platforms. Students joining telehealth session from their individual homes away from preceptors does not provide optimum learning experiences and is not recommended as students lack access to electronic medical records, multidisciplinary team experiences, etc.
Students must satisfactorily complete all the requirements of their practicum courses in accordance with the information provided in the course syllabi. Students complete the didactic portion of the track online. Please note that there has been an increase in clinical hours from 144 hours per course (576 hours total) to 160 clinical hours per course (640 total hours), effective Spring 2018.
Go to NP Practicum Courses by Specialization for Students With Catalog Years Before Spring 2018
The following are suggestions, listed by specialization, for students to consider when choosing a preceptor and site for each required practicum course. Students can also consult the course descriptions in the catalog and at the end of this manual as a guide.
Note: For all courses, students are not allowed to complete practicum hours in operating rooms, surgeries, or labor and delivery, or do home visits.
2022-2023 Academic Year
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