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March 13, 2018

Rockefeller University Nurse Practitioners and Masters-prepared Nurses Partner with Columbia University School of Nursing to Prepare the Advance Practice Nurse Workforce in Translational Research
By Patricia Eckardt, PhD, RN

The International Association of ClinTo prepare an advanced practice nursing workforce in Clinical Research Nursing (CRN), the nurse practitioners and masters prepared nurses of Rockefeller University, led by Allison Butler, MSN, FNP-BC and Mary M Sullivan-Whalen, RN, FNP developed and piloted a standardized practicum in CRN with academic partners at the Columbia University School of Nursing Masters Direct Entry program led by Karen Desjardins, DNP, Assistant Dean. This innovative pilot program was created to address the training needs of advanced practice nurses in CRN. As clinical research is moving into nontraditional and ommunity settings, advanced practice nurses are increasingly caring for patients on research protocols in these settings. Preparing advanced practice nurses with basic competence in CRN would improve the care of research participants and fidelity to research protocols, but standardized preceptor programs in CRN are not currently available in the United States or internationally.


Under the mentorship of Patricia Eckardt, PhD, RN, Director of the Heilbrunn Center for Research Nursing, a pilot standardized CRN practicum preceptor program was developed and tested this past year with an initial cohort of 55 nurse practitioner students. Participants were assigned pre-clinical practicum readings on CRN and the role of the advanced practice nurse, an onsite practicum overview of CRN, and a practicum experience with the clinical research NPs at Rockefeller University. The program included a pretest on CRN knowledge and experiences and a post test on knowledge of CRN and satisfaction with the pilot practicum experience. The novel standardized practicum program was well-received, with nursing students’ knowledge of CRN improving significantly (p= .02), and with 95% of participants recommending the experience for future students. The results of the program were disseminated through the International Association of Clinical Research Nurses (IACRN) at the annual conference and with academic and clinical partners for evaluation and potential adoption. Based on this evidence of success, the practicum is being repeated this year.


Allison Butler, MSN, FNP-BC, Mary M Sullivan-Whalen, RN, FNP, Donna Brassil, MA, RN, CCRC, Mayu Okawa Frank, A.N.P., PhD, Rebecca Fry, MSN FNP, and Patricia Gilleaudeau, RN