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Nurse Educ Today. 1998 Nov;18(8):622-9.

Learning on clinical placement: the experience of six Australian student nurses.

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  • 1School of Nursing Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia.


Concerns about the adequacy of clinical education in nursing courses in Australia have escalated since the transfer of pre-registration nursing education into the tertiary sector. This descriptive, interpretative study, informed by the tradition of critical social science, sought to understand the clinical learning experiences of undergraduate nursing students. At the same time, it fostered an active participation of students in their own learning. Daily post-clinical conferences with the students were taped and transcribed verbatim to provide data for the study. Additional data was collected from informal discussions and observations of the students during the placement. Analysis revealed three main categories, which reflected the students' experiences. These included: (1) I don't belong; (2) doing and practising: progress at last; and (3) transitions in thinking. Feeling part of the team was closely linked to the opportunity to learn, emphasizing the important role not only of educators but also clinicians in undergraduate learning on clinical placement. Though the findings reflect age-long problems associated with student learning in the clinical field, it serves to remind all nurses of the importance they play in the learning process. This study reflects the importance of effective communication between the health and education sectors and the need to concentrate on strategies which will strengthen this bond.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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