• clinical education;
  • grounded theory;
  • medication administration;
  • nursing students;
  • supervision

reid-searl k., moxham l., walker s. & happell b. (2010) Nursing students administering medication: appreciating and seeking appropriate supervision. Journal of Advanced Nursing66(3), 532–541.


Aim.  This paper is a report of a study of undergraduate nursing students’ experience of administering medication in the clinical setting.

Background.  Safe administration of medication is an important component of skilled nursing practice, and nursing students require personal and supportive supervision from Registered Nurses to enhance learning and promote safety. A review of the literature revealed a lack of research addressing students’ experiences in administering medication.

Methods.  A grounded theory methodology was used. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with a convenience sample of 27 undergraduate nursing students in Queensland Australia in 2005.

Findings.  Supervision emerged as the central category in this study. Participants acknowledged the need for and importance of supervision according to the following sub-themes: a university requirement; scope of practice; and safety, the five rights. They also described behaviours they adopted to seek supervision, including negotiating, chasing, waiting and avoiding.

Conclusion.  Universities and healthcare settings need to collaborate more closely to ensure that adequate supervision is provided to ensure safe practices.