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J Nurs Educ. 1990 Apr;29(4):183-7.

Nursing students' perceptions of anxiety-producing situations in the clinical setting.

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Methodist Hospital, Indianapolis, Ind.


Aspects of nursing students' clinical experiences are anxiety provoking. High anxiety may contribute to decreased learning. The purpose of this study was to identify potentially anxiety-producing clinical experiences for student nurses. Thirty-nine junior and 53 senior nursing students from a BS degree program completed the "Clinical Experience Assessment Form," a 16-item Likert scale. The items included communication and procedural aspects of patient care, interpersonal relationships with healthcare providers, and interactions with faculty. An open-ended question asked students to identify the most anxiety-producing aspects of their clinical practice. The students expressed the highest anxiety for the initial clinical experience on a unit and the fear of making mistakes. Faculty evaluation and observation were also anxiety-producing. The results of the student t-test indicated that juniors were significantly higher in their expression of anxiety was that students's anxiety was increased in the clinical setting by their perceptions of nonsupportive faculty.

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