Blending Innovations in Teaching and Technology to Enhance Clinical Readiness in the Acute Care Setting
Purpose: The purpose is to describe innovative teaching and technology used to bridge a gap between didactic knowledge and the clinical application of this knowledge in the acute care setting to prepare students for full-time clinical experiences. Methods/Description: Our program practice is to have all students complete an integrated clinical experience (ICE) and a full-time clinical experience in a non-ambulatory setting. The dearth of ICE placements in the acute care setting, limits the opportunity for an acute care ICE prior to a full-time clinical experience. As a result, some students in one of our cohorts did not complete an acute care ICE prior to a full-time clinical experience. As an alternative, innovative learning experiences using standardized patients, simulation and virtual reality technology, were developed to provide opportunities for students to apply their didactic knowledge to clinical practice. Results/Outcomes: Several innovative experiences, based on the Academy of Acute Care Physical Therapy Core Competencies, were created: 1) six simulation labs, 2) virtual reality case immersion experiences, 3) physical therapy and nursing mock code simulation, 4) Interprofessional Disaster Drill simulation and, 5) an Acute Care Boot Camp. These experiences allowed students with limited ICE acute care experience to have the opportunity to review skills in a simulated environment to better prepare for full-time clinical experiences. Students’ feedback regarding these learning experiences suggested they added value and enhanced student readiness. Students placed in a full-time acute care setting successfully completed their non-ambulatory full-time clinical experiences. The success of these opportunities resulted in a review of our curriculum and an additional acute care credit is being explored. Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: The use of simulation, virtual reality, and innovative teaching strategies complimented traditional didactic education in preparing students for full-time clinical experiences in the acute care setting.