NURS 6341 Week 5: Introduction to the Specialty Focus Essay Assignment Paper

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NURS 6341 Week 5: Introduction to the Specialty Focus Essay Assignment Paper

“Nurses in our study at the competent level were highly engaged nurses who sought daily to … continually improve their practice. It became clear to us that coaching from proficient to expert nurses would be highly beneficial to all nurses at the competent stage of clinical skill acquisition. It is at this point that they are ready to broaden their clinical imagination.”

—Benner, Tanner, & Chesla, 2009, p. 101

Think back to when you first learned that you would need to choose a clinical specialty for this practicum. What specialties of interest came to mind and why? How was your “clinical imagination” broadened by the opportunity to develop your expertise in a specialty area?

Although in previous weeks you have been addressing your specialty of interest in the context of universal nursing issues such as clinical judgment and quality and safety, this week you focus on how nurses within your specialty develop the particular expertise required for quality patient care. You investigate your specialty to expand your awareness of new advancements, best practices, and high-interest topics within this clinical arena.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Evaluate current topics as a means to facilitate clinical problem solving in specialties of interest
  • Evaluate current topics for evidence of knowledge and application of physical assessment, pharmacology, and pathophysiology
  • Evaluate the influence of current topics on nurses and nurse educators
  • Analyze current research literature for applicability to specialty areas of interest*
  • Evaluate a practicum experience in the context of quality**
  • Analyze opportunities for integrating quality measures into the nursing classroom**
  • Construct a detailed practicum log***

* The Assignment related to this Learning Objective is introduced this week and submitted in Week 6.

** You continue working on the Assignment related to this Learning Objective, first introduced in Week 4 and submitted in Week 7.

*** You continue working on the assignment related to this Learning Objective, first introduced in Week 1 and submitted in Week 7.

“‘A practice is not just a surface on which one can display instant virtuosity.’” 

—J. Dunne (Benner, Sutphen, Leonard, & Day, 2010, p. 177)

How do you gain expertise in any area of life? For example, if your personal passions outside of nursing include cooking or gardening, sports or music, how did you develop your knowledge or skill, and how do you maintain it? How does staying current on the latest trends and “hot topics” build your “virtuosity?”

As you focus on your specialty of interest, consider the importance of being “in the know” as a means of developing expertise. Whether examining technologies, medicines, processes, or techniques, it is imperative that nurse educators stay up-to-date with cutting-edge developments that are evolving to address clinical problems. In this Discussion, you explore a topic of significance and its implications for your specialty of interest.

To Prepare

  • Investigate your practicum setting and/or current literature related to your specialty of interest to identify an advancement or development that is groundbreaking, controversial, and/or vital to nurses in this specialty of interest.
  • Consider how this topic is impacting the health care field (i.e., clinical problems) and your work as a nurse. In addition, consider how this topic either builds upon or requires further knowledge of the 3Ps.
  • Conduct research to locate two scholarly articles that support and expand your understanding of the topic.

By Day 3

Post a description of a “hot” topic in your specialty of interest. Explain the clinical problem that this topic helps to address as well as how it requires advanced knowledge and application of the 3Ps. Support your response with authentic observations from your practicum experience and by citing a minimum of two scholarly articles.

Read a selection of your colleagues’ responses.

By Day 6

Respond to at least two of your colleagues on two different days using the following approach:

  • Explain how your colleague’s topic is impacting your current role as a nurse or future role as a nurse educator.

Assignment: Annotated Bibliography

Revisit Miriam, the graduate nurse whose specialty area is critical care. As Miriam’s practicum experience proceeds, she is increasingly interested in new technology and best practices in the care of acutely ill patients. Looking ahead to her work as a nurse educator, Miriam has begun researching scholarly articles on new developments in critical care. Her purpose is to both expand her own knowledge and create an annotated bibliography that she can share with her students.

In this Assignment, you gather information on advancements in your practicum specialty.

To Prepare

  • Reflect on your specialty of interest and your practicum experience. What key topics, processes, best practices, advancements, and technologies have you seen or heard about?
  • Search the Walden Library for articles on any or all of these dimensions. Keep in mind that your focus is on current developments and that articles you select should have been published within the last three years.

To Complete

  • Create an annotated bibliography that consists of 10 scholarly, peer-reviewed articles.
  • For each article:
    • Provide a brief summary (4–5 sentences).
    • Explain why this article is relevant (1–2 sentences).
    • Explain the application of the findings of the article to practice (1–2 sentences).

By Day 7 of Week 6

The Assignment, “Annotated Bibliography,” is due.

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