In Focus: Hands-on Learning

Photo: Faculty member Michael Beach with BSN student Tyler Martin in the School’s Skills Lab. Dr. Beach teaches courses on physical assessment, differential diagnosis and clinical diagnostics, and disaster and mass casualty care (including using simulation mannequins). Students participate in more than 1200 hours of clinical learning shifting from the School’s labs to hundreds of health care facilities and non-profits in the region.

At Pitt's School of Nursing, learning takes place in a variety of settings including the classroom, the hospital unit, a local non-profit, and more. Students benefit greatly from having a chance to practice what they've learned in the classroom safely. Pitt Nursing has its own Skills Lab, Human Simulation Lab, and partners with the Peter M. Winter Institute for Simulation Education and Research, a world-class multidisciplinary training facility.

Schools, clinics, senior citizens centers, and long-term and acute-care facilities host clinical opportunities for students. Clinical learning opportunities focus on the care of individuals and families of all ages, specialized care settings, patients experiencing complex illnesses and problems, and health promotion. Pittsburgh provides a rich environment for this type of hands-on learning as there are six major local teaching hospitals and more than 50 health care facilities in the region.

Whether in a nursing home or the local Veteran's Administration clinic, our students are supervised by specially-trained preceptors help to bridge the “theory-practice” gap in various settings. Students gain invaluable experience in working within different types of institutions, with both large and small teams, and with very diverse patient groups.