Background: Understanding the strengths and challenges of various clinical models is important for nursing education. Method: Three long-standing clinical models (preceptored, hybrid, and traditional) were compared on several outcome measures related to satisfaction, learning opportunities, and student outcomes. Students, faculty, and preceptors participated in this study. Results: Although no differences were noted in satisfaction or standardized examination scores, students in the preceptored clinical model were able to practice more psychomotor skills. Although participants in the preceptored model reported spending more time communicating with staff nurses than did those in the other models, students in the traditional model spent more time with faculty. No differences were noted among groups in student clinical observation time. Conclusion: All clinical learning models were focused on how clinical time was structured, without an emphasis on how faculty and preceptors work with students to develop nursing clinical reasoning skills. Identifying methodology to impact thinking in the clinical environment is a key next step.
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