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Contemp Nurse. 2003 Apr;14(2):145-55.

Baccalaureate nursing students' experiences of anxiety producing situations in the clinical setting.

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California State University, Hayward, CA, USA.


The purpose of this study was to identify the clinical experiences of nursing students that were anxiety provoking and examine the relationship between the level of trait anxiety and the clinical experience that produced anxiety in nursing students. A descriptive correlational design collected data from 61 nursing students in their last semester of the baccalaureate nursing program using survey questionnaires that captured demographic data and included the Trait Anxiety Scale and the Clinical Experience Assessment form. Analyses of data indicate that 36% of the students experienced a moderate level of anxiety. Clinical experiences related to arriving late, being observed by instructors, responding to initial experiences, having a fear of making mistakes, and talking to physicians were the most anxiety producing for these students. A significantly positive relationship (r = .40, p < .05) was found between the trait anxiety and clinical experience that was anxiety producing. A higher level of perceived anxiety accompanied the following clinical experiences; being observed by instructors (F = 3.44, p = .04), doing beforehand in-hospital preparation (F = 4.46, p < .02), asking questions of faculty (F = 4.38, p < .02), being evaluated by faculty (F = 3.37, p < .04), and reporting to team leader (F = 3.60, p < .05). The most anxiety producing clinical experiences in nursing students before graduation are evaluated with descriptive data. Results would provide useful insights for faculty and senior nursing students involved in clinical practice, and have implications for education, further research, and clinical support.

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