School of Nursing

April 14, 2020

Announcing the COVID-19 Clinical Partnership

Adversity is a challenge but when confronted it can also be a catalyst.

Clinical placements are a critical part of every nurse’s education. Traditionally, nurses at all levels spend time working at hospitals, clinics, and other health care facilities under the supervision of preceptors. This enables them to safely develop their skills and expand their knowledge in “real world” settings.

The current coronavirus pandemic has placed enormous strain on the resources of hospitals and other sites where students traditionally learn, and most will not be able to host student placements until the pandemic has abated.

In response, we collaborated with Public Health—Seattle & King County (PHSKC) to develop three innovative and creative clinical placement opportunities for our students. These were approved and will be available for the spring quarter.

The first learning opportunity will assign undergraduate, senior practicum students to the PHSKC Novel Coronavirus Call Center. The call center is handling more than 800 calls a day from the public about COVID-19. Students will be able to provide public service by using their nursing/scientific knowledge to provide evidence-based, accurate information that reflects CDC, state, and PHSKC guidelines.

The second clinical learning opportunity will place Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) students in telehealth/telemedicine environments, working with preceptors to provide virtual visits. This will enable DNP students to complete the clinical hours needed to prepare them for graduation, certification and licensure as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). Telehealth is becoming increasingly important and viable as a means of delivering care to rural and remote areas, as well as for people who are unable to easily access primary care because of mobility, quarantine, or other issues.

The third clinical placement option will be at a proposed PHSKC COVID Shelter System incorporating an assessment center and a recovery center. This will provide clinical learning opportunities for licensed graduate nursing students. The assessment center patients will be ill with respiratory symptoms but not so ill they require hospitalization. The recovery center patients will be recovering after hospitalization. ARNP graduate faculty and registered nurses employed by the health department would provide on-site supervision of all graduate students.

What is very exciting about these newly developed options is that they let our students use their full scope of skills, under appropriate supervision while also responding to a very compelling, very urgent public need. These opportunities take nursing to the community and enable students to learn and serve.

I’m proud of the collaborative work that has been done to develop these innovative options. I’m proud of our ability to provide meaningful, service-oriented clinical placements at a time when other options have been foreclosed. And I’m particularly proud of how this enables us to be of service to the community of which we are a part.