NCLIN 411: Transition to Professional Practice

NCLIN 411: Transition to Professional Practice

NCLIN 411 allows you to immerse yourself into the role of the Registered Nurse and begins the transition into the professional role. BSN students take NCLIN 411 during spring quarter of their senior year, and ABSN students take NCLIN 411 during their final summer quarter.

You will be notified of an information session to provide general information about the clinical course, available information about clinical sections, and answer questions prior to the match meeting.

NCLIN 411 Course Structure

NCLIN 411 is a nine-credit Credit/No Credit course. It is a combination of a weekly two-hour clinical seminar plus approximately 240 hours of preparation, clinical practice, and laboratory experiences.

You will have a School of Nursing clinical instructor as well as nurse preceptors at their NCLIN 411 site. The School of Nursing clinical instructor leads the clinical seminars and does site visits with individual students and preceptors. You work side-by-side with your preceptor(s) during their shift.

Depending on the site, these shifts may range from eight to twelve hours and occur during days/evenings/nights/weekends/holidays. You must be prepared to be available any combination of days and shifts.

NCLIN 411 Clinical Match Process


Open, transparent standardized process for students to sign up for an available clinical slot for NCLIN 411 with computerized random ordering of students for sign-up, along with a standardized process for a voluntary, one-time only trade.

Meeting Values/Expectations

  1. Teamwork and collaboration among students, faculty, and staff is highly valued.
  2. School meeting ground rules will be in effect for the meeting.
  3. All students are and will be expected to conform to the Essential Qualifications for BSN/ABSN Admissions, Continuance, and Graduation. Please note that the UW Student Conduct Code is embedded in and an expectation for the BSN/ABSN Essential Qualifications. Conformance to Essential Qualifications is one of the three requirements for students to make “satisfactory progress” in the degree program.

Procedure Details

Giant Post-It Notes will be on the wall with a line for each available slot in five categories: Adult Acute Care; Pediatrics; Childbearing Families; Psychiatric/Mental Health; Community Health. During Summer Quarter, some of these categories may be combined, such as Pediatrics/Childbearing Families.


  1. Review and agree on meeting ground rules. Special attention will be focused on respect for all in the room and on no side conversations during the entire process. Please bring something to work on if you’d like and/or bring your lunch, but we will need relative quiet and calm in the room to move through the process as accurately and efficiently as possible.
  2. We will:
    1. Take attendance to reconcile the names of all expected students for NCLIN 411;
    2. Project an Excel spreadsheet that contains the names of all students planning to take NCLIN 411;
    3. Use an Excel function to generate random numbers in a column next to the name of each student;
    4. Call student names in order; students will go up and place their name on an open slot.
  3. The process will continue until all students have signed a slot.
  4. The Post-It notes will be photographed before any students exit the room; photos will be sent by email immediately to the cohort.
  5. Information on the Post-It Notes will be transcribed by a Student and Academic Services staffer and sent out to students in DRAFT form.
  6. Students have the opportunity to trade clinical section choices once by finding a partner for the trade.  Both students must appear in Student and Academic Services during the published “trade” meeting and by presenting a signed trade agreement form. The Director of Student and Academic Services will approve the trade by signing the form.
  7. After the “trade” deadline, a FINAL list of students/slots will be sent to the cohort and to department chairs.
  8. After the final arrangements are sent out, clinical instructors for each section will contact their students for site/unit/preceptor matches. Please wait until you hear from your clinical section instructor.

Nursing student clinical matches are complex given the number of nursing schools (all levels of education) and number of nursing students in the Puget Sound area. In addition, the education of nursing students is very prescriptive both from a national accreditation standpoint and from Washington State rules. In recent years, issues around clinical matches became so complex and inefficient that the North Puget Sound Clinical Placement Consortium was formed. The mission of the Consortium is to deal with these complexities and balance the needs and interests of the clinical agencies with the needs of the Schools and their students and faculty while maintaining compliance with state laws and national standards for accredited schools, as well as any regulations healthcare agencies must adhere to.

In thinking about clinical matches, considerations that must be accounted for and balanced are:

  1. Schools of Nursing (in general)
    1. All schools in the North Puget Sound (and some schools straddle the South Puget Sound) placement needs.
    2. This year, consortium member schools are requesting to place 1,200 undergraduate students in 3,500 placements.
  2. UW School of Nursing
    1. Student progression, student learning needs
    2. Compliance with State of WA rules that dictate that we may not place more than ten undergraduate students in a section. This has real-world implications for the number of slots we offer by section, given the need to balance teaching loads with FTEs while we make sure that available faculty has the required and appropriate expertise to teach students in certain settings with certain populations.
    3. Instructor expertise
    4. Instructor availability
  3. Healthcare agencies/care settings
    1. Agency staffing levels – enough qualified staff to precept students
    2. Patient/client type and number must be sufficient to allow for learning opportunities for nursing students
    3. Healthcare system prioritization of its own “new” nurses for precepting. (i.e., agencies may prioritize use of experienced staff nurses to precept/orient their own new employees versus student nurses.)
    4. Healthcare system capacity to precept students given internal and external pressures they may be facing as an organization, such as implementing a new Electronic Health Record system and the need to train their own staff during a particular time period or preparing for accreditation.
    5. Constraints and restrictions placed on accommodating students across health sciences and related disciplines, such as legal restrictions as set out in agency-specific Affiliation Agreements with the School of Nursing and the response of our Attorneys General to such negotiated agreements.
  4. North Puget Sound Clinical Placement Consortium
    1. The School of Nursing is, by necessity, a member of and must work with the North Puget Sound Clinical Placement Consortium (the “Consortium) for “gridded” Consortium slots. Agencies make known potentially-available slots, and Schools of Nursing must submit reservations twelve to fifteen months in advance for “gridded” consortium slots. (“Gridded” slots are most likely, but not exclusively, inpatient slots.) To add to the complexity, Consortium-member agencies also have what they call Consortium-Non-gridded slots; i.e., agencies want control over these slots through the consortium, but do not put them in the “grid.” Finally, there are agencies that do not belong to the NPSCPC (e.g., Seattle Children’s Hospital, others). That creates a delay in us knowing how many slots we have for certain sections. So, for example, every year we reserve NPSCPC slots for pediatrics, but we do not get as many as we would like from NPSCPC. So, we wait to see what Consortium-gridded peds reservations we will “get” and, when confirmed, we approach Seattle Children’s and other agencies to get the Consortium-non-gridded slots and the Non-Consortium slots for additional pediatrics slots for students. Any delays on the part of NPSCPC or its member schools delays the systematic response to all.



      “Lead” Time for Reservations

      Consortium Gridded Twelve to fifteen months in advance
      Consortium Non-gridded Twelve to fifteen months in advance
      Non-Consortium N/A Varies; nine to twelve months in advance is typical