Aim and objective. To measure nursing students’ experiences and satisfaction with their clinical learning environments. The primary interest was to compare the results between students with respect to clinical practice in nursing homes and hospital wards.
Background. Clinical learning environments are important for the learning processes of nursing students and for preferences for future workplaces. Working with older people is the least preferred area of practice among nursing students in Norway.
Design. A cross-sectional design.
Methods. A validated questionnaire was distributed to all nursing students from five non-randomly selected university colleges in Norway. A total of 511 nursing students completed a Norwegian version of the questionnaire, Clinical Learning Environment, Supervision and Nurse Teacher (CLES+T) evaluation scale in 2009. Data including descriptive statistics were analysed using the Statistical Program for the Social Sciences. Factor structure was analysed by principal component analysis. Differences across sub-groups were tested with chi-square tests and Mann–Whitney U test for categorical variables and t-tests for continuous variables. Ordinal logistic regression analysis of perceptions of the ward as a good learning environment was performed with supervisory relationships and institutional contexts as independent variables, controlling for age, sex and study year.
Results. The participating nursing students with clinical placements in nursing homes assessed their clinical learning environment significantly more negatively than those with hospital placements on nearby all sub-dimensions.
Conclusions. The evidence found in this study indicates that measures should be taken to strengthen nursing homes as learning environments for nursing students.
Relevance to clinical practice. To recruit more graduated nurses to work in nursing homes, actions to improve the learning environment are needed.