Introduction: Clinical Learning & the Role of the RN

In what ways can I help nursing students understand and experience the role of professional nurses in nursing homes?

To introduce you to this topic, Christine Mueller, PhD, RN, FAAN, provides her perspective. Click the play button to listen.

Christine Mueller, PhD, RN, FAAN Dr. Christine Mueller, Chair,
Adult and Gerontological Health Co-operative Unit at the University of Minnesota, School of Nursing

Yes, there are fewer registered nurses in nursing homes than in hospitals. In fact, RN staffing in nursing homes averages 36 minutes of RN time per resident in a 24 hour day. Needless to say, this causes some reservation among faculty for student learning in nursing homes. Another concern is the role of the RN in nursing homes, which tends to be focused more on administrative functions rather than direct care for residents. I will admit that students are challenged with identifying their role as a RN in a nursing home; they often think that when they are functioning in the student role in a nursing home, they are doing the role of the nursing assistant. They see a lot of licensed practice/vocational nurses engaged in licensed nursing tasks and question whether there is even a need for a RN; or they wonder about the difference between the role of the RN and LP/VN. This module focuses on this reality and provides strategies faculty can use to highlight the role of the RN for nursing students and ways to consider professional nursing practice models in nursing homes. A major premise highlighted is the accountability of the RN for the assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation of nursing care. The module explores how nursing faculty and nursing home staff can partner to promote professional nursing practice models.