Mastery Monday: Early Experiential Learning

Early Experiential Learning in the Six-Point Mastery Learning Model places students into clinical and laboratory experiences early and often within every program Roseman offers. This experiential learning focus sometimes causes students some initial unease, but is the critical connection point between the didactic classroom portion of the learning and being out in the real world.

“Putting students in the clinical setting early really helps them apply what they have learned. For many this is a time of putting the pieces together to make much more sense than the theory does alone,” said Delos Jones, Director of Clinical Resources at Roseman’s Henderson, Nev. campus. For many students this may represent the first interaction with patients in a clinical setting, such as a hospital, but their prior experience in the simulation lab and the hand-in-hand partnership with professors helps reassure them. “Having experienced, patient and knowledgeable clinical faculty helps the students become more comfortable in the clinical setting and grow their knowledge and skill levels,” said Jones.

This gets back to a key premise of the Six-Point Mastery Learning Model, which asserts that regular feedback allows the student to adjust and modify continually, then allows them to correct and evolve along the way. Instructors have the chance to work with students who may need a bit more help early on, building their found along and preventing poor habits that they may later have to unlearn. With greater confidence, students move more quickly toward mastery and creating linkages that drive understanding and retention. Having multiple and varied inputs for information and experiences also supports different student learning modalities – encompassing kinesthetic, aural, visual and verbal styles.

Roseman’s clinical experiences are both earlier and for longer periods of time than other programs, allowing students to see issues in the healthcare environment that they might not see were this time shorter. Issues with continuity of care, transition of care from unit to unit and how multidisciplinary teams interact are all front and center during experiential learning. These longer clinical “shifts” also prepare students for what is to come once they graduate. Roseman nursing students’ work follows the assessment and fundamentals coursework, allowing them to have a stronger basis from which to go into the clinical setting.

Does this innovation in the curriculum truly produce a better practitioner? According to Jones, “Applying the knowledge and putting the students in the most realistic clinical situation possible helps prepare them for the real life of a working professional nurse.”