Elizabeth Sharpe, DNP, APRN, NNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN

Associate Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing

How Are You Teaching?

Complications Rounds to spark critical thinking

Elizabeth Sharpe, associate professor of Clinical Nursing, knows that the creativity of clinical educators “is being called upon like never before,” having spent the last year and a half “innovating to enrich nurse practitioner student knowledge” in the fact of “diminishing or uncertain clinical opportunities” (Sharpe, 2020, p. 695).

Sharpe, who directs the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Specialty Track, joined health professions faculty involved in the Institute for Teaching and Learning Community of Practice that formed during the pivot to remote learning over a year ago. “We were all pursuing development of new creative methods to somehow accomplish/augment procedural learning for our students,” she explained.

Her pedagogical approach in response to this teaching challenge involved presenting an activity where the student is propelled into the future as a practicing provider. In order to spark critical thinking in patient management, a “Complications Rounds” model was implemented. 

p. 694

This model formed the basis for Sharpe's journal article, “Innovative Approach to Procedure Skills: A Nurse Practitioner Educator’s Response to COVID-19” published in the Journal of Nursing Education. The lessons learned in response to restructuring critical practical coursework during were a “silver lining,” revealing a method for meeting student needs in the absence of physical recourses, as well as a strategy “with vast potential for future development as uncertain clinical practical experiences loom large” (p. 694).

Moreover, the recommendations for this innovative approach are applicable to a number of other activities in and outside of the health sciences/professions disciplines. Sharpe’s article concludes with these recommendations:

  • Focus design of activities anchored on competency and course-based learning objectives.
  • Prioritize what is essential content over next-tier content (need to know versus nice to know).
  • Directions should be explicit.
  • When students are working independently, faculty should be available.
  • Be open to new technologies and software platforms that can make this happen. (p. 695)


Read the full journal article.