• Clinical Learning Environment Inventory;
  • clinical placement models;
  • clinical teachers;
  • nursing students;
  • preceptors;
  • student centredness

newton j.m., jolly b.c., ockerby c.m. & cross w.m. (2012) Student centredness in clinical learning: the influence of the clinical teacher. Journal of Advanced Nursing68(10), 2331–2340.


Aim.  This article reports a longitudinal study examining how nursing students learn on clinical placements in three cohorts of undergraduates at a large Australian university.

Background.  Preceptorship models of clinical learning are increasing in popularity as a strategy to maximize collaboration between university and healthcare organizations. A clinical education model, underpinned by preceptorship, was offered by an Australian university in partnership with a tertiary healthcare organization to some students.

Design.  The study utilized a mixed method approach of surveys and interviews.

Method.  It was hypothesized that students participating in the preceptorship partnership model would have more positive perceptions of the clinical learning environment than students participating in other models of clinical education. Data were collected over 3 years, from 2006–2008, using a modified Clinical Learning Environment Inventory from second (n = 396) and third (n = 263) year nursing students. Students were classified into three groups based on which educational model they received.

Results.  On the inventory factor, ‘Student centredness’, a Welch test indicated an important difference between the responses of students in the three groups. Games-Howell post hoc test indicated that students in the clinical preceptorship partnership model responded more positively than students who had both a clinical teacher and a preceptor in a non-preceptorship partnership model.

Conclusion.  Developing sustainable approaches to enhance the clinical learning environment experience for student nurses is an international concern. The significance of continuity of clinical teachers to the contribution of student centredness is an important aspect to be considered.