Students’ expectations of postregistration degree programmes
The needs of postregistration students pursuing degree-linked clinical courses have received little attention and there are few insights concerning their aspirations when they enrol on such courses. Thus the aim of this study was to explore postregistration students’ perceptions of the specific needs of their patient/client group and to examine how they envisaged the course on which they had just enrolled might help them to meet these needs in addition to their own requirements for professional and personal development. Data were collected by group interview from 62 students enrolling on eight different postregistration courses, all employed in an acute hospital trust. The results were analysed inductively. They indicated that students had internalized the state of the healthcare market and were keenly aware of the need to fulfil the expectations of employers and the public, while fulfilling their own needs for education and pursuing their own professional and career trajectories. They appeared ambitious and yet appeared to demonstrate empathy for patients and their families and felt a tremendous desire to provide care of a high quality through the optimal development of technical expertise. Students’ emphasis on the importance of keeping abreast of technological developments should not be lightly dismissed considering its prominent position within the acute areas where they were employed, especially as it did not replace their desire to promote the caring aspects of their work.