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AACN Presents Inaugural Awards to Innovative Student Learning Opportunities

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Press Release
For Immediate Release

AACN Presents Inaugural Awards to Recognize Innovative
Student Learning Opportunities in Nursing Homes

2011 Awardees include Edgewood College, University of Wisconsin-Madison,
and the University of Minnesota Schools of Nursing

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 3, 2011 – The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is pleased to announce that the inaugural BSN Awards for Innovative Clinical Rotation in a Nursing Home were presented at AACN’s Fall Semiannual Meeting on October 21, 2011 in Washington, DC.  The University of Minnesota School of Nursing and a collaborative initiative between schools of nursing at Edgewood College and the University of Wisconsin-Madison were recognized for creative student learning experiences in nursing homes available to students in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs. This awards program was developed by AACN in collaboration with the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing at New York University College of Nursing and the Pioneer Network, funded by the Commonwealth Fund and Picker Institute.

“As schools of nursing move to enhance their approach to teaching geriatric nursing care, more institutions are looking to nursing homes as important practice sites to give students real-world opportunities to utilize and sharpen their skills,” said AACN President Kathleen Potempa.  “AACN is pleased to recognize this year’s award recipients for developing cutting edge models for clinical education that will hopefully be replicated by institutions across the nation.”

Created earlier this year, the BSN Award for Innovative Clinical Rotation in a Nursing Home is presented to schools of nursing that demonstrate excellence in three areas:

  • Collaboration with a nursing home to foster an exemplary clinical training site (e.g., structure/process, standards, research opportunities, interdisciplinary care)
  • Incorporation of the principles of culture change and person-centered care
  • Use of nursing home clinical experience to integrate content related to management of older adults with complex, chronic illnesses (e.g., cancer, heart disease, dementia/delirium, geriatric syndromes)

The following abstracts describe the innovations advanced by this year’s award winners:

The University of Minnesota School of Nursing offers an innovative 3-credit course for upper division BSN students, titled Nursing Care of Older Adults, which is unique in several ways. The didactic component of the course consists of 12 modules that provide guidance to students about the focus of their clinical experience. Students spend 60 hours in a nursing home and 24 hours with a community-based organization providing services to older adults. A strong partnership with a nursing home provides students with a wide variety of challenging experiences enabling them to engage in the role of the professional nurse and implement and evaluate the nurse’s role in promoting and role modeling person-centered care. Students develop a care plan for a resident that is from the resident’s perspective-in their voice. In addition, students have experiences coordinating the care for a group of residents and apply leadership principles when working with a team of other students and direct care providers. They have a rich experience investigating common clinical issues in nursing homes, including geriatric syndrome, and are required to examine the research to identify best evidence-based assessment and management practices. The learning faculty has had from this course and clinical experience has led to wide dissemination through publication, presentations, and a federally funded grant. Faculty have strong evidence from students’ evaluations that they have positive perspectives about the role of the RN in a nursing home and a willingness to consider a career in a nursing home.

The Wisconsin Long-Term Care Clinical Scholars Program (LTC CSP) exposes students to positive experiences in long-term care settings, potentially impacting students’ career choice while improving knowledge and experience related to caring for older adults. Focused learning is accomplished through the creation of a clinically intensive 12 week summer internship for baccalaureate nursing students. The Wisconsin LTC CSP is a collaboration between Edgewood College and University of Wisconsin Madison Schools of Nursing and four local nursing homes. Key elements of the program include: 1) scholar support and classroom learning, 2) a preceptor education program, and 3) organizational support. BSN students are employed and paid by partner nursing homes as Nurse Techs, allowing them to practice at the scope of a student nurse. Each scholar is mentored by two specially prepared registered nurse preceptors who act as clinical coaches in the nursing home. Scholars participate in weekly workshops led by nursing faculty and guest experts focused on topics in geriatric care, long-term care systems, and person-centered care. The internship allows students to obtain focused experience with older adults and long-term care organizations with significant coaching and support in place. According to one reviewer, this program “elevates the care of older adults in the eyes of undergraduates, it helps to make a statement that to care for older adults you have to be the best of the best.”


The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for university and four-year college education programs in nursing. Representing more than 670 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide, AACN's educational, research, governmental advocacy, data collection, publications, and other programs work to establish quality standards for bachelor's- and graduate-degree nursing education, assist deans and directors to implement those standards, influence the nursing profession to improve health care, and promote public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice.


Robert Rosseter, 202-463-6930, ext. 231