Student nurse perceptions of an innovative role to support clinical practices during a pandemic: A qualitative study.

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare systems needed to quickly identify personnel to provide symptom screening and PPE observations. Through an established academic-practice partnership, pre-licensure nursing students were able to fill this new Patient Services Aid role. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the students' experiences in this mutually beneficial innovative role.


Electronic surveys and qualitative focus groups were used to evaluate the students' experiences.


A total of 34 students were employed at the health system as PSAs. Focus groups (n = 16) analysis showed that, while the role was not a substitute for academic clinical experiences, they did improve the students' confidence in the clinical setting and helped teach necessary non-technical skills. Students appreciated the ability to network with multiple disciplines while working as PSAs.


This role was developed to assist with immediate COVID-19 needs; however, this model of using pre-licensure students in non-clinical roles can improve students' non-technical skills and confidence in the clinical setting. The success of the activity was due to the strong relationships between the School of Nursing and health system. Other schools of nursing could benefit from developing collaborative partnerships with local healthcare systems.





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Howard, Valerie, Ann Michelle Hartman, Deborah H Allen and Staci S Reynolds (2021). Student nurse perceptions of an innovative role to support clinical practices during a pandemic: A qualitative study. Nurse education today, 103. p. 104959. 10.1016/j.nedt.2021.104959 Retrieved from

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