Many undergraduate baccalaureate nursing programs incorporate clinical emersion courses at the end of the program. Nursing capstone courses have become increasingly important in facilitating student transition into practice. However, little is known regarding the overall effectiveness of this teaching model for students, nursing programs, and clinical agencies. Previous studies revealed conflicting results about the benefits of a senior level precepted clinical experience. In this multi-method study, the authors examined student learning outcomes, perceptions, employment choice and retention following implementation of a new capstone nursing course. Results of this study indicated that a capstone course does not necessarily significantly improve scores on achievement exams or NCLEX RN first time pass rates. Nevertheless, qualitative content analysis revealed the following themes: integration, autonomy, confidence, authority, and advocacy consistent with a perceived enhanced competence in the nursing role. Data indicated that graduates often seek employment and remain at their capstone site or within their capstone specialty.
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