Linda McGillis Hall

CIHR Awards Grant to Study Ways of Increasing Competence in New Nurses

1 November 2012

When nurses graduate and enter into the workforce, do they have the necessary practical skills to succeed? Bloomberg Nursing PhD graduate Jessica Peterson and Dr. Linda McGillis Hall, Associate Dean of Research & External Relations, will address this question with their new grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) on Competence Development in Nursing Students and Newly Graduated Nurses: A Scoping Review.

This one-year study will focus on nursing students and new graduates, both local and international, and how they transition from school to work.  While nursing programs equip students with a solid educational background through classroom and clinical placements, there is a prevalent worry among students that they lack the practical skills needed to thrive in a health care setting.  A concern that is also echoed by the practicing nurses who will be working closely with these new graduates.

“This grant provides us with the opportunity to address an important gap that exists in synthesizing the evidence on developing clinical competence in nursing students and newly graduated nurses,” said McGillis Hall.

Principal investigators Peterson and McGillis Hall, will examine research papers published on nursing students and new graduates to see if there is a common thread on how clinical proficiency, taught in nursing programs and in practice settings, is developed.  The key areas they will explore are: defining competence in clinical practice, educational approaches to developing and increasing that expertise, and how best to provide opportunities for nursing students to gain the skills they want and need.  Expanding their research beyond North America will provide Peterson and McGillis Hall with insight into the thoughts of nursing students around the world, and if they share similar concerns about sufficient clinical experience.

Working with a team of educators, researchers and practicing nurses, Peterson and McGillis Hall will produce materials, that will be available around six months after the study ends, identifying how to provide students with valuable and rewarding clinical placements.  The findings from this research are a key step in ensuring the nurses of tomorrow receive the best teaching experience today.