The study of Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Practical Nursing students explored how education constructs intraprofessional relations. The findings of the study revealed that the two education programs rarely discuss how to work with each other as there is generally segregated education. This often leads to role confusion and the students degenerating to describing each other’s roles negatively. Little education is provided to assist students to learn nurse-to-nurse collaboration. Thinking about the article that you read last week, what implications on communication can occur in practice when students are educated in segregated programs?
Being a supervisor of PN students, I certainly see this issue with role confusion starting at the education level. A class the students take is an intraprofessional course, which includes paramedic, psw, nursing, international and pta/ota students which supports the respect and appreciation for each role in the health care team. I think a similar course should be offered for BsCN students and PN students. Many colleges are offering bridging or degree programs with the increased demand for nurses, therefore having both programs offered at the schools, these students should have some shared labs or classes to learn about each other’s roles and how to work together. If this is not possible, then more conversation needs to happen. Showing mock scenerios or role playing videos to support patient advocacy and nurses working together could help.
I was invited some time ago to sit on the nursing board at our local college where I graduted from. There had been many changes over the years to the facility and the latest was a huge spash of funds to create a “state of the art” skills lab, with combined resources for the Paramedic, PSW, PN and RN students. They completed mock drills utilizing the entrie team. I recall be impressed by the wisdom to share and collaborate and a little intimidated and wondering if I were to be back in school taking the PN program would I have made it through. I feel this is a step in the right direction – but still lots more to go.
I really like the idea you presented about having some shared lab classes to help address some of these role clarity issues! This is something that I think should be discussed more widely and I have had conversations about this with some of the team here at WeRPN.
Jacqueline, its neat that you’ve seen this idea in practice! Hope fully one day this will be more common-place and we can help foster a deeper understanding of each others roles at the education level in the future!
I agree that more collaboration is needed between both designations to help facilitate a trusting relationship. I recall hearing some of the exact comments from the article such as: “oh, I’m just and RPN” and “oh you’re not a real nurse”, or P is for pretend nurse. I would constantly catch myself saying oh, I’m just and RPN’ instead of saying, yes, I am an RPN. When I took the program 15 years ago there was a notable segregation between the programs as highlighted in the article: “We tend not to do anything with the RN students so we’re automatically segregated when we get here.” At times you could see the difference in teaching styles between the programs.
I was invited to sit on the nursing board at my college some time ago. During this time there was a big splash of money to develop a new state of the art skills lab that combined resources for the Paramedic, PSW, PN and RN students with mock drills / scenarios utilizing the entire team as part of the learning curriculum. I believe this collaboration is a definite step in the right direction to help bring all of these designations to work together.
I have definitely had to catch myself saying that I am “just an RPN”. I am getting better, and starting to remind other RPNs that they are not “just” and RPN and can be proud of the title of “nurse”.
I love to hear that you have experienced a blended skills lab with various different professions/designations. I really hope this is something that gains popularity to help students learn about each others roles and work more collaboratively together.
Segregated Education. It is unfortunate that Practical nursing and Bachelor in Nursing do not share some classes even although RPNs and RNs study from the same body of nursing knowledge. I agree that not sharing classes together or no integration between the two types of students impedes the ability of nurses to work together. I believe that collaboration between nurses would promote patient safety and positive patient outcome and that it should start in school so that when they start working as RNs and RPNs their would be no role confusion.
I like how you tied role clarity into patient safety with your insight. I think you’re right; by developing a deeper understanding of each-others roles, we will be better able to collaborate and support each other to support patient care in a safe and effective manner.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
While reading they article, I kept thinking ; why are BScN and PN programs not taught about each other?, Why can’t the 2 programs have some classes together? I remember being in school and knowing that the BScN program existed but we had no interaction. Once both groups are working, there is so much overlap. It would be useful to have some practice at doing this while in school. Perhaps schools that offer both programs could have some classes that are taught to both groups but marked differently. Interaction between the 2 groups would help them to know about each other, the strengths of each, what is lacking in each. There are very few situations in the working world where RNs and RPNs do not work closely.