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Nurs Stand. 2000 Sep 13-19;14(52):35-8.

Clinical facilitators: a new way of working.

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East Cheshire NHS Trust.



To improve the quality and quantity of student clinical placements in an NHS trust.


When nurse training was under review, a 12-month pilot study was undertaken to introduce 12 clinical facilitators to acute and surgical wards at six trust sites on a supernumerary basis. As well as guiding the student, each facilitator liaised with a link tutor and ward staff, thereby maintaining continuity. The project team worked closely with the trust audit department and collected data using a variety of methods. The project leader developed an audit questionnaire for students, ward staff and college tutors. The initial answers were used as a baseline, then the same questionnaire was redistributed so the data could be analysed and compared.


Most of the students felt more supported and confident to practise. The clinical facilitators were able to help ground the tutors' practice knowledge in reality, and the tutors built up the clinical facilitators' confidence in curricular issues and skills, such as presentation and teaching strategies.


The clinical facilitator can strengthen partnerships between education and service and offer a model for practical facilitation.

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