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This paper addresses two key components of nurse education: the acquisition of clinical skills, and the use of computer-assisted learning (CAL). Also emphasised is the importance of clinical-skills acquisition in nursing, with particular reference to handwashing. It states how high levels of competency in hand washing are essential to ensure patient safety and prevent hospital acquired infections. The second important element addressed is the potential use of CAL in the teaching of clinical skills in nursing with particular reference to both the theory and skills of handwashing. Additionally, the paper refers to the lack of empirical evidence regarding the effectiveness of CAL in the teaching and learning of nursing skills. What is reported in the paper adds to the limited body of knowledge in this area.
CAL versus traditional approaches
Traditionally, a considerable proportion of clinical-skills acquisition took place in the clinical environment through ‘sitting next to Nellie’ and based on an apprenticeship model. Today the healthcare climate is very different; patients are more acutely ill, with shorter periods of hospitalisation and reduced numbers of registered nurses to provide student supervision. These factors indicate …
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