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Nurse Educ Pract. 2007 Jan;7(1):4-10. Epub 2006 May 24.

Supernumerary status--an unrealised ideal.

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Project Leader Learning Communities, Faculty of Health and Human Sciences, Thames Valley University, Wellington Street, Slough, Berks SL1 1YG, United Kingdom.


Supernumerary status, for pre-registration student nurses, should have fundamentally changed the way they learn in practice. Research suggests, however, that for many students the apprenticeship model still exists and that supernumerary status has created new challenges for learning in practice. Common themes found in the literature on supernumerary status are: confusion over the meaning of supernumerary status, the effect of supernumerary status on becoming part of the team, importance of the mentor, power relationships and operationalising supernumerary status. These themes are explored further with reference to the international literature and recommendations made as to how nurse education can respond to the challenges posed in order to ensure the quality of student learning in practice.

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