Quality clinical placements for undergraduate nursing students: a cross-sectional survey of undergraduates and supervising nurses

Authors

  • Helen Courtney-Pratt,

    1. Helen Courtney-Pratt PhD RN Clinical Nurse Educator Royal Hobart Hospital, Hobart and Clinical Senior Lecturer School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia
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  • Mary FitzGerald,

    1. Mary FitzGerald PhD RN Professor of Nursing Practice Development, Southern Tasmania Health Service and School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia
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  • Karen Ford,

    1. Karen Ford PhD RN Assistant Director of Nursing Royal Hobart Hospital and Clinical Senior Lecturer School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia
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  • Kathryn Marsden,

    1. Kathryn Marsden MPA RN Clinical Nurse Educator Royal Hobart Hospital and Clinical Senior Lecturer School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia
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  • Annette Marlow

    1. Annette Marlow MN RN RM Director of Professional Experience School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Tasmania, Launceston, Australia
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H. Courtney-Pratt: e-mail: helen.courtney-pratt@dhhs.tas.gov.au

Abstract

courtney-pratt h., fitzgerald m., ford k., marsden k. & marlow a. (2012) Quality clinical placements for undergraduate nursing students: a cross-sectional survey of undergraduates and supervising nurses. Journal of Advanced Nursing68(6), 1380–1390.

Abstract

Aim.  This article is a report of a mixed method study of the quality of clinical placements for second year undergraduate nursing students in an acute care hospital.

Background.  In response to the current and predicted workforce shortages, greater numbers of nursing undergraduate places are being offered at tertiary institutions. This means that requests for clinical places in hospitals to support undergraduate students has risen. Little is known about the impact of increased numbers on the quality of clinical placement as a learning experience and this is of concern as demand grows and the means of assessing capacity is still unknown.

Methods.  A 5-point Likert Scale questionnaire, including free text fields, was administered to undergraduates (= 178), clinical facilitators (= 22) and supervising ward nurses (= 163) at two time points in 2009. The survey targeted the quality of the clinical placement in four domains: welcoming and belongingness; teaching and learning; feedback; confidence and competence.

Findings.  The findings demonstrated consistently high scoring of the clinical placement experience by both undergraduates and registered nurses. There were higher ratings of levels of support from clinical facilitators compared to supervising ward nurses evident in data associated with the items on the questionnaire relating to teaching and learning.

Conclusion.  The results are indicative of the professional commitment of nursing staff to support the next generation of nurses. The findings also give a mechanism to communicate outcomes of undergraduate support to nurses in practice, and highlight steps which can be taken to ensure high quality clinical placement continues.

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