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Nursing Student
Research/Practicum/Project Policy

All requests for nursing students (BSN, MSN, DNP, PhD) who are seeking to do original research (OR), a DNP project such as, but not limited to quality improvement (QI) or evidence based practice (EBP), or a research practicum experience must be submitted to the clinical placement coordinator from the student’s school through the Centralized Clinical Placement System (CCP).  A current contract between the school and MGH must be in place prior to the start of the practicum or project/research study. Of note: if a school does not have a contract, they should send a request with the following information to the Institute for Patient Care at PCSIPC@partners.org, Attention: Clinical Placement Coordinators.  Please allow one week for us to respond.

  • The student’s faculty member must oversee and grade the student’s practicum or project/research study.
  • The Institute for Patient Care’s Professional Development Manager or Project Manager for the Clinical Affiliation Program will send the request to the MGH nursing community to determine if there is an MGH nurse who is willing to serve as the student’s preceptor for the practicum or project/study.  
  • The request must be made at least 8 weeks prior to the anticipated start date.
  • Student  placements are not guaranteed.

For students wishing to do a research practicum experience at MGH, the following process applies.

  • The faculty member and student must review the skills sought for practicum and submit a list of the skills the student is seeking  during this experience into the CCP along with the course syllabus.  
  • The faculty member and student using the skills list, must discuss the goals of the practicum with the MGH preceptor.
  • It is the faculty member’s  responsibility with input from the MGH preceptor to grade the student.  

For students wishing to conduct original research or quality improvement, the following applies:

  • Prior to the start date at MGH, each student must complete CITI certification at http://www.citiprogram.org.  The CITI program required by the school may be different than the one required at MGH, which at minimum requires the Good Clinical Practice module be complete.
    • MGH employees are strongly encouraged to discuss their project with their unit leadership as a first step.
    • It is the expectation that students will work with their faculty member to establish their research question, approach to the problem and plan for evaluation or data analysis.
    • In addition, a proposal with the following information must also be included in the application.
      • Title of the quality improvement project or original research study
      • The research question and/or specific aims of the study or performance improvement goal
      • Brief overview of the method/approach
      • Subject population of interest
      • Data analysis or performance improvement evaluation plan
      • Signature of faculty member overseeing the DNP project or PhD dissertation 
      • Signature of MGH preceptor
      • Signature of MGH unit leadership member approving that the project can be conducted on their unit
      • The faculty member, student and MGH preceptor should each retain a copy of this information
      • At the end of the experience and as applicable, it is the faculty member’s responsibility with input from the MGH preceptor to grade the student.
      • DNP student projects must be human subjects exempt from IRB as described here:

    New “Not Human Subject Research (NHSR)” Application (Formerly Quality Improvement Checklist)  The new REDCap application replaces the paper version of the NHSR form and the QI Checklist previously used.

    • If you would like to seek an official determination that a project is “not human subjects research,” click on the link above to submit a request to the IRB (Not Human Subject Research Determination (partners.org)).   The IRB will quickly review your project description and provide you either a written confirmation that your project is “Not Human Subjects Research (NHSR)” or direct you to submit a full IRB application if you are conducting human subject research


    • Activities that do not meet the definition of human subject research may qualify for a NHSR designation. Some examples include:
    • Quality improvement/assurance projects or program evaluations
    • Use deidentified data or specimens with no intent to re-identify subjects
    • Use of cadaveric materials or data.
      • It is not acceptable for schools to submit to -MGB IRB for a learning experience if they meet the standard of a QI project..


    • For OR and as part of a PhD program ONLY, once the MGH preceptor agrees to be the onsite responsible investigator, the following applies.
      • All original research conducted at MGH must be approved by MGB IRB.
      • It is the faculty member’s responsibility to oversee all IRB approval.
      • Some schools have a partnership agreement with MGB IRB. The faculty member and student must check with the school’s IRB to determine if this is the case and the process to follow. For example, in some cases the student will need to go through the school’s IRB first then once approved, submit a cede review application for approval to the MGB IRB. A full MGB IRB review may still be required. In other cases, the opposite is true and MGB IRB approval is required first; then the MGB IRB approval is submitted to the school,
      • In either case, the IRB application must be prepared by the faculty and student. The MGH preceptor who serves as the site responsible investigator will sign off and submit the application.
      • Revisions to the application and the completion of continuing reviews are the responsibility of the faculty member and student and signed off by the MGH site responsible investigator.


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