Factors affecting student nurses’ learning in community placements: a phenomenological study


  • Lesley Baillie BA RGN ONC RNT

    Corresponding author
    1. Nurse Teacher, Buckinghamshire College of Nursing and Midwifery, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England
      Lesley Baillie, 2 Hull Close Brookhurst Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire HP21 8RX England
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Lesley Baillie, 2 Hull Close Brookhurst Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire HP21 8RX England


The study aimed to explore the question, what factors affect student nurse learning in a community setting? A phenomenological approach was taken by carrying out in-depth interviews with eight Project 2000 students who had just completed 8 weeks of community placements The factors which emerged centred around three themes the students themselves, the mentors and the placements Students recognized that their own approach to the placement was important They found that the role they fulfilled in the placements affected their learning, preferring a participative role to observation only The role of the mentor was found to be crucial for learning Important factors were the mentors’ knowledge and attitude towards the Project 2000 course and their professionalism (particularly communication skills), as perceived by the students Also significant were the mentors’ skills at facilitating learning in the placements, by encouraging questions and reflection, and organizing a variety of experiences Factors relating to the placements concerned their relevance to the course (as perceived by the students) and the breadth of experience available Whilst this was a small sample, from which no generalizations can be made, the study gives insight into students, teachers and community staff of the experience of learning in the community setting