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College of Nursing and Health Innovation | The University of Texas at ArlingtonCollege of Nursing and Health Innovation | The University of Texas at Arlington


Touching Lives. Transforming Health Care.

Competency-Focused Approach to Clinical Experiences (C-FACE)

What is Competency-Focused Approach to Clinical Experiences (C-FACE)?

Current clinical experiences in pre-licensure nursing programs have been characterized as "education by random opportunity." Across Texas, the range of clinical hours required of students in these programs is large and the actual clinical experiences each student obtains varies by the patients/clients served by the clinical sites with which the program is able to contract.

We proposed a competency-focused approach to clinical experiences as an alternative approach to organizing clinical experiences. In this approach, nursing programs and employers of new graduate nurses come together to identify specific clinical competencies they expect a new graduate nurse to acquire in each clinical course. Together, representatives from the academic and service settings go further and establish clear operational definitions for each competency in terms of what knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) a student needs to demonstrate and the clinical presentations in which the competencies should be learned and assessed.

To assure a minimum, common level of exposure for each student to the agreed upon clinical presentations, nursing programs and employer representatives selected simulation scenarios (from purchased products or developed internally) that are used at the start of each clinical course. In so doing, students are assured exposure in the simulation setting to the clinical experiences considered essential. 

About The Research

There are two primary goals of this project:

  • The first goal is to determine an effective range of clinical contact hours to prepare a competent graduate.
  • The second goal is to determine the effective and efficient distribution of these hours and clinical experiences in simulation and traditional "hands on" patient care.

Toolkit For Nurse Educators

The layout of the Toolkit is from general information to more specific information related to the CFACE project. The information in the toolkit will help faculty in the process of developing their own scenarios.

The Learning Objective page will help faculty know how to develop measurable learning objectives that relate to the goal of the simulation.

The Planning and Implementation page will help faculty identify the important characteristics of the participant and the simulation. The Implementation Plan is a document that details the elements required to meet the objectives of the simulation experience and optimize expected outcomes.

An Immersive and Safe Environment optimizes the simulated learning activity for the participant and is one element of the Implementation Plan. This page explains how and why a safe environment is essential for a successful simulation event.

The Facilitation page will provide the facilitator with goals and resources to be an effective facilitator.

The Briefing and Debriefing page covers two vital, complementary components of simulation: briefing (orientation) is as essential to a successful simulation as debriefing. This page will provide the faculty with goals for briefing and debriefing as well as an example of the process.

The Assessment page provides the faculty with examples of different instruments easily accessible and ideas for creating their own instrument. Additionally, the instruments used in the CFACE project which included the CCEI, Daily log, Student survey, and Preceptor survey are available. The seven courses in the CFACE project are Foundations, Med/Surg, Critical Care, Pediatrics, Obstetrics, Psychiatric, and Capstone. You will find each course’s folder on the Assessment page. Click or tap here for Selected Scenario Titles [PDF].

The CFACE project utilized simulation scenarios provided by Laerdal for six of the seven courses. Scenarios for both formative assessment and summative assessment were selected for the Laerdal/NLN suite of scenarios. A list of scenarios selected for formative assessment is below. Specific information from the Laerdal scenarios cannot be publicly disclosed because they are proprietary to Laerdal. However, the psychiatric task groups created everything needed to plan and implement a psychiatric simulation. Although a Laerdal scenario was selected for Foundations, the task group found it necessary to modify several elements of the simulation. You will find examples from the foundations and psychiatric scenarios as you move through the toolkit. Finally, you will find INACLS resources available throughout the toolkit.

Click or tap here for a Complete List of Formative Scenarios [PDF].

Upcoming Webinar: The project will host a webinar open to schools of nursing to share the outcome of the study, answer questions regarding implementation of specific simulated clinical scenarios into their program, and to provide instructions for use of the toolkit. Details will be posted here when available.

C-FACE Project Partners

In collaboration with DFW Hospital Council Foundation:

Academic Partners
  • The College of Nursing
    at the University of Texas at Arlington
  • Tarleton State University
  • El Centro College
  • Brookhaven College
Service Partners
  • Baylor, Scott & White Health
  • HCA North Texas Division
  • Kindred Hospital
  • Texas Health Resources
  • Methodist Health System
  • JPS Health Network

This project was funded by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). The findings and recommendations reflect those of the researchers, not of the THECB.