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Nurse Educ Today. 1995 Feb;15(1):3-10.

The clinical learning environment: nurses' perceptions of professional development in clinical settings.


Although the complexity of the working environment of Registered Nurses has been acknowledged, the relationship between the social context of work and perceptions of professional development have not been systematically studied. This research was designed to identify and explore the attributes of effective learning environments in clinical settings. Following an initial exploratory study of perceptions and experiences of registered and student nurses, a conceptual framework was developed and tested. The findings of the study ware based on responses to a questionnaire (n = 516) which was developed as a tool for assessing organisational and social factors associated with perceived professional development in clinical settings. There was a significant and positive correlation between professional development and six independent variables: Autonomy and Recognition, Role Clarity, Job Satisfaction, Quality of Supervision, Peer Support and Opportunities for Learning. These variables accounted for almost 40% of the variance in perceived professional development. There were differences between hospitals and wards on most of the independent variables suggesting that some wards and institutions are more conducive to learning than others. The implications of the findings in terms of further research and practice are discussed.

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