I am looking,  for feedback on this topic, either by comment or email.  Feel free to post links, your best advice, evidence, and thoughts on how to educate future primary care NP students.

We seem to have a lot of opinion, anecdotal evidence, and very small pilot studies out there with no real change.  We continue to teach in an antiquated model, but refuse to push students to the reaches that PA and MD programs do in the level and type of courses taken (physics, organic chemistry) nor in keeping them in class all day, not allowing them to work to engage focus, nor finding specific or prescripting clinical sites to them.
Before you write me about what I just wrote know that I understand that in all the large head-to-head research that NPs have done very well, if not better than our physician counterparts in many aspects of patient care and that NPs are nurses before they are NPs.  I get that we are doing many, many things right and that many bring very good clinical experience.  With the need for health care providers growing and the desire of many schools to enlarge programs both for profit and to alleviate the healthcare provider shortage that is no longer looming but present.  Here is what I am looking for:

  • Large scale (high level) research among NP students about what makes the best clinical thinkers/reasoners/etc.?
  • Advice from preceptors as to what you need? (Pay, more feedback, less responsibility?)
  • Advice from preceptors about where NP students are weakest or need the most learning?
  • Large scale evidence about what predicts success in a graduate NP program? (I.e. admissions criteria, English literacy, number of hours worked, years of experience as an RN (found one good study on this that said – no, but then a Georgetown study seemed this year to contradict this. Bottom line, not enough good, repetitive research in multiple populations to know.)
  • Teaching methods in the classroom that help NP students retain the most knowledge and information?
  • Factors that improve performance on certification exam for NP students?
  • How to tie pathophysiology into assessment, pharmacology, and treatment planning?
  • Whether NP students learn more or retain more in simulation experiences?
  • Alternate clinical ideas for experience?
  • How to gain preceptors and not lose them?
  • Generational or educational changes in NP students and how that may be affecting the downward trend in certification exam pass rates?
  • Does the DNP as primary education make a difference in any of the above with research?

I am looking forward to any engagement or open discussion on any of these questions as I prepare my own students and think about my ethical and professional responsibility to both students, their future patients, and the profession.