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J Clin Nurs. 2006 Feb;15(2):155-61.

Using clinical skills laboratories to promote theory-practice integration during first practice placement: an Irish perspective.

Author information

  • School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland. rmorgan@tcd.ie

Abstract

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES:

This aim of this study was designed to investigate how a select cohort of nursing students experienced their first practice placement in a large Irish teaching hospital. The objectives of this study were to investigate whom do students learn from, what skills they learnt during their first practice placement and to identify if the use of clinical skills laboratories before their first practice placement helped students relate theory to practice during their first practice placement. The aim of this paper is to discuss if the sessions taught in the clinical skills laboratory prior to the first placement helped students integrate theory to practice during their first practice placement.

BACKGROUND:

The debate regarding theory-practice integration has been ongoing in nursing for decades. Many studies across Europe have consistently demonstrated that the use of clinical skills laboratories have helped students integrate theory to practice during practice placements. Others have identified the difficulty students have relating theory to practice. However, as there appears to be a gap in current literature, from an Irish perspective, it is essential to highlight if Irish students can integrate theory to practice during their first practice placement.

DESIGN:

A qualitative method incorporating the Heideggarian approach of phenomenology was utilized.

METHODS:

A purposeful sampling technique was used to select six participants from all first year students. Interviews were conducted using a semi-structured interview schedule. Data were analysed using the Giorgi method of analysing phenomenological data.

RESULTS:

The participants identified that sessions taught in the clinical skills laboratory before the first practice placement, which they identified as 'basic nursing skills such as taking and recording vital signs and hygiene needs of patients were useful and helped them to integrate theory to practice during their first practice placement. These results are relevant to this paper as they identify the use of teaching sessions in the clinical skills laboratories, enabling students to link theory to practice during practice placements.

CONCLUSIONS:

Nursing students must be adequately prepared to carry out clinical skills competently and efficiently. Educators and practitioners must display the knowledge and skills required to promote theory-practice integration, to enhance nursing students education, which in turn will optimize high standards of patient care. Relevance to clinical practice. Clinical skills laboratories are essential to help students develop the collaborative skills required for a profession like nursing. It is essential that students are adequately prepared to carry out clinical skills during their first practice placement, and have the ability to link theory to practice.

PMID:
16422732
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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