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J Nurs Educ. 2012 May;51(5):245-53. doi: 10.3928/01484834-20120309-01. Epub 2012 Mar 9.

Typology of undergraduate nursing students' unsafe clinical practices: Q-methodology.

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Laurentian University, Ontario, Canada.


Undergraduate nursing students, as members of the health care team, must uphold patient safety as a professional and moral obligation during their clinical learning experiences. To address this imperative, in a humanistic paradigm, students engage in critical appraisal of self as a developing practitioner. Using Q-methodology, this study describes undergraduate nursing students' subjective understanding of unsafe clinical practices, and results revealed a typology of five groups of unsafe students. The results showed four discrete groups of students at risk for unsafe clinical practices-vulnerable, unprepared, unknowing, and distanced students. Overall, a consensus viewpoint described the presence of the displaced student as the greatest safety risk. Use of this typology as an assessment guide may help students and educators cooperatively create and maintain a culture of safety while developing competent novice nurses.

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