Current pressures in the Canadian health care context have a significant impact on the provision of sufficient and meaningful clinical/practice education for nursing students. In view of the fundamental importance of clinical experience in nursing education, CASN Council established a Task Force on Clinical/Practice Education to explore challenges and innovative strategies relevant to practice education in Canada, and to assist in the development of national guidelines for practice education. There is some anecdotal information from education programs reflecting how they are working with health care authorities and agencies to adapt models of practice education as they strive to balance the competing demands of educating higher numbers of student nurses within environments where placement opportunities are becoming increasingly scarce.
In an attempt to capture this information in a more formal way, the CASN Task Force reviewed relevant literature on models of practice education and surveyed all member schools for information regarding the current status of undergraduate clinical practice education across Canada in May and June of 2003. For the purpose of the survey, clinical experience was defined broadly as any teaching/learning that occurs outside the physical environment of the school classrooms and clinical labs.
The report of the survey findings is intended as an internal document to inform CASN Council, although some of the content may eventually be incorporated into a more widely distributed CASN position paper and national strategy for clinical/practice education in nursing.