• clinical education;
  • content analysis;
  • expectations;
  • nursing students

This study aimed to describe the expectations of Bachelor of Science nursing students regarding what constitutes an effective clinical education. In this study, a semistructured interview process was utilized with 17 nursing students studying in sophomore, junior and senior years in training units of hospitals affiliated with Tehran University of Medical Sciences. Content analysis was employed to analyse the data. Data analysis led to identification of three main themes: (i) appropriate communication and interaction between instructors and students; (ii) incorporation of both theory and practice in clinical education, with two subthemes, one being the presence of the instructor as a factor for reducing the gap between theory and practice and the other being evaluation based on appropriate criteria; and (iii) having specialized instructors, with a specific emphasis on the instructor's knowledge and motivation as important factors in learning. The findings reveal the significant role of mentors in providing effective educational and clinical experiences. Therefore, mentors must strive to develop their knowledge and clinical behaviours according to students' needs in clinical settings.