Journal of Nursing Education

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Educational Innovations 

Academic Microsystems: Adapting Clinical Microsystems as an Evaluation Framework for Community-Based Nursing Education

Kathleen M. Thies, PhD, RN; Lea Ayers, MSN, RN

  • Journal of Nursing Education. 2007;46(7)
  • Posted July 1, 2007

Abstract

ABSTRACT

When an academic nursing program and clinical agency form a partnership to both educate students and effect changes in the health care of the community, evaluation presents a challenge for measuring structure, processes, and outcomes at three levels: student educational processes and outcomes; student-sensitive outcomes for the community; and the effectiveness of the partnership itself. This article describes how we adapted the Clinical Microsystems model as an Academic Microsystems model to evaluate the complementary processes and outcomes for the community and for the nursing program in a senior Community Capstone course. The Capstone is a community-based initiative in which students assess community needs, intervene appropriately, evaluate their intervention, and pass the initiative on to the next year’s class. Although outcomes for students and the community were positive, the model revealed that developing the frontline microsystem of student/faculty/community nurse mentor was the key to success.

AUTHORS

Received: June 28, 2005

Accepted: April 13, 2007

Dr. Thies is Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts Worcester Graduate School of Nursing, Worcester, Massachusetts, and Ms. Ayers is Associate Professor, Colby-Sawyer College Department of Nursing, New London, New Hampshire.

This article was made possible in part by a grant to the Colby-Sawyer College Department of Nursing by the Helene Fuld Health Trust, HSBC Bank, Trustee, Grant #006, 2000-2004.

The authors thank the administration of Colby-Sawyer College and the clinical partners that helped develop the community-based curriculum: Andrea Steel, BSN, of Lake Sunapee Region VNA; Laurie Harding, MS, RN, of the Visiting Nurse Alliance of Vermont-New Hampshire; and Linda Kobokovich von Reyn, PhD, RN, of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. The authors especially thank Marjorie Godfrey, MS, RN, of the Center for Evaluative Clinical Sciences at Dartmouth.

Address correspondence to Kathleen M. Thies, PhD, RN, University of Massachusetts Worcester Graduate School of Nursing, 55 Lake Avenue North, Worcester, MA 01655; e-mail: Kathleen.Thies@umassmed.edu.

Abstract

ABSTRACT

When an academic nursing program and clinical agency form a partnership to both educate students and effect changes in the health care of the community, evaluation presents a challenge for measuring structure, processes, and outcomes at three levels: student educational processes and outcomes; student-sensitive outcomes for the community; and the effectiveness of the partnership itself. This article describes how we adapted the Clinical Microsystems model as an Academic Microsystems model to evaluate the complementary processes and outcomes for the community and for the nursing program in a senior Community Capstone course. The Capstone is a community-based initiative in which students assess community needs, intervene appropriately, evaluate their intervention, and pass the initiative on to the next year’s class. Although outcomes for students and the community were positive, the model revealed that developing the frontline microsystem of student/faculty/community nurse mentor was the key to success.

AUTHORS

Received: June 28, 2005

Accepted: April 13, 2007

Dr. Thies is Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts Worcester Graduate School of Nursing, Worcester, Massachusetts, and Ms. Ayers is Associate Professor, Colby-Sawyer College Department of Nursing, New London, New Hampshire.

This article was made possible in part by a grant to the Colby-Sawyer College Department of Nursing by the Helene Fuld Health Trust, HSBC Bank, Trustee, Grant #006, 2000-2004.

The authors thank the administration of Colby-Sawyer College and the clinical partners that helped develop the community-based curriculum: Andrea Steel, BSN, of Lake Sunapee Region VNA; Laurie Harding, MS, RN, of the Visiting Nurse Alliance of Vermont-New Hampshire; and Linda Kobokovich von Reyn, PhD, RN, of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. The authors especially thank Marjorie Godfrey, MS, RN, of the Center for Evaluative Clinical Sciences at Dartmouth.

Address correspondence to Kathleen M. Thies, PhD, RN, University of Massachusetts Worcester Graduate School of Nursing, 55 Lake Avenue North, Worcester, MA 01655; e-mail: Kathleen.Thies@umassmed.edu.

ABSTRACT

When an academic nursing program and clinical agency form a partnership to both educate students and effect changes in the health care of the community, evaluation presents a challenge for measuring structure, processes, and outcomes at three levels: student educational processes and outcomes; student-sensitive outcomes for the community; and the effectiveness of the partnership itself. This article describes how we adapted the Clinical Microsystems model as an Academic Microsystems model to evaluate the complementary processes and outcomes for the community and for the nursing program in a senior Community Capstone course. The Capstone is a community-based initiative in which students assess community needs, intervene appropriately, evaluate their intervention, and pass the initiative on to the next year’s class. Although outcomes for students and the community were positive, the model revealed that developing the frontline microsystem of student/faculty/community nurse mentor was the key to success.

AUTHORS

Received: June 28, 2005

Accepted: April 13, 2007

Dr. Thies is Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts Worcester Graduate School of Nursing, Worcester, Massachusetts, and Ms. Ayers is Associate Professor, Colby-Sawyer College Department of Nursing, New London, New Hampshire.

This article was made possible in part by a grant to the Colby-Sawyer College Department of Nursing by the Helene Fuld Health Trust, HSBC Bank, Trustee, Grant #006, 2000-2004.

The authors thank the administration of Colby-Sawyer College and the clinical partners that helped develop the community-based curriculum: Andrea Steel, BSN, of Lake Sunapee Region VNA; Laurie Harding, MS, RN, of the Visiting Nurse Alliance of Vermont-New Hampshire; and Linda Kobokovich von Reyn, PhD, RN, of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. The authors especially thank Marjorie Godfrey, MS, RN, of the Center for Evaluative Clinical Sciences at Dartmouth.

Address correspondence to Kathleen M. Thies, PhD, RN, University of Massachusetts Worcester Graduate School of Nursing, 55 Lake Avenue North, Worcester, MA 01655; e-mail: Kathleen.Thies@umassmed.edu.

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