Research Article| Volume 15, ISSUE 2, P55-61, May 2008

Building capacity for the clinical placement of nursing students


      The current workforce crisis mandates that education providers increase the number of graduates from nursing courses. In a practice-based profession however, any growth in student numbers is constrained by the ability of clinical venues to accept students for clinical experience. Factors within the operating environment such as bed capacity, staffing mix and shortage of experienced clinicians to act as preceptors, clinical teachers, mentors or role models; limit the number of students that can be accommodated and both the quality and level of educational support provided. These factors are compounded in rural hospitals, where opportunities for placements can be also overlooked or ineffectively utilised.
      This paper reports on a project undertaken by a rural health service, two universities and a TAFE institute. It demonstrates that a greater number of students can be accommodated when all major stakeholders accept responsibility and agree to work together to create a learning community and find ways to overcome barriers and impediments that constrain capacity. It is concluded that the capacity of a rural hospital to accept students for placement can be increased when cancellation rates are reduced, the clinical timetable rationalised and more collaborative approaches to clinical education are implemented.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Collegian
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • AIHW
        Australia's health 2004.
        Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Canberra2004
        • AIHW
        Nursing and midwifery labour force 2003. AIHW cat. no. HWL 31.
        Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Canberra2005
        • Billett S.
        Workplace participatory practices: Conceptualising workplaces as learning environments.
        Journal of Workplace Learning. 2004; 16: 312-324
      1. Clare, J., Edwards, H., Brown, D., & White, J. (2003). Evaluating clinical learning environment: Creating education–practice partnerships and clinical education benchmarks for nursing. Learning outcomes and curriculum development in major disciplines: Nursing. Phase 2 final report. Adelaide: Flinders University.

        • Collins P.
        • Hilde E.
        • Shriver C.
        Recruiting factors: Rural and urban settings.
        Nursing Management. 1993; 24: 97-98
        • Conrick M.
        • Lucas N.
        • Anderson A.
        Undergraduate clinical education in the “real world”.
        Australian Electronic Journal of Nursing Education. 2001; 7
        • Courtney M.
        • Edwards H.
        • Smith S.
        • Finlayson K.
        The impact of rural clinical placement on student nurses’ employment intentions.
        Collegian. 2002; 9: 12-18
        • Crow G.
        The relationship between trust, social capital, and organizational success.
        Nursing Administration Quarterly. 2002; 9: 1-11
        • Croxon C.
        • Maginnis C.
        Total learning and the implications for rural student nurse retention.
        Australian Journal of Rural Health. 2006; 14: 132-133
        • DeLong T.
        • Bechtel G.
        Enhancing relationships between nursing faculty and clinical preceptors.
        Journal for Nurses in Staff Development. 1999; 15: 148-151
        • Dent J.A.
        Current trends and future implications in the developing role of clinical skills centres.
        Medical Teacher. 2001; 23: 483-489
      2. Department of Human Services. (2006). Prepare nurses for the future report—Phase 1, 2005. Melbourne: Nurse Policy Branch, Department of Human Services, Victoria.

        • Duckett S.J.
        The Australian health care system.
        2nd ed. Oxford University Press, Melbourne2004
        • Glover P.
        • Clare J.
        • Longston D.
        • De Bellis A.
        Should I take my first offer? A graduate survey.
        Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing. 1998; 15: 17-25
        • Grant E.
        • Ives G.
        • Raybould J.
        • O'Shea M.
        Clinical nurses as teachers of nursing students.
        Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing. 1996; 14: 24-30
        • Grealish L.
        • Carroll G.
        Beyond preceptorship and supervision: A third clinical teaching model emerges for Australian nursing education.
        Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing. 1998; 15: 3-11
        • Heath P.
        Our duty of care. National review of nursing education 2002.
        Australian Government Printing Service, Canberra2002
        • Hoffart N.
        • Diani J.A.
        • Connors M.
        • Moynihan P.
        Outcomes of cooperative education in a baccalaureate program in nursing.
        Nursing Education Perspectives. 2006; 27: 136-143
        • Ironside P.M.
        • Valiga T.M.
        National survey on excellence in nursing education: Headlines from the NLN.
        Nursing Education Perspectives. 2006; 27: 166-169
        • Johns C.
        Depending on the intent and emphasis of the supervisor, clinical supervision can be a different experience.
        Journal of Nursing Management. 2001; 9: 139-145
        • Kline K.S.
        • Hodges J.
        A rational approach to solving the problem of competition for undergraduate clinical sites.
        Nursing Education Perspectives. 2002; 27: 80-83
        • MacCormick M.
        The changing role of the nurse teacher.
        Nursing Standard. 1995; 10: 38-41
        • Mayne L.
        • Glascoff M.
        Service learning: Preparing a healthcare workforce for the next century.
        Nurse Educator. 2002; 27: 191-194
        • Phillips N.
        • Duke M.
        The questioning skills of clinical teachers and preceptors: A comparative study.
        Journal of Advanced Nursing. 2001; 33: 523-529
        • Preston B.
        Australian nurse supply and demand to 2006—A projections model and its application.
        Australian Council of Deans of Nursing and Midwifery, Melbourne2002
      3. Productivity Commission. (2005). Australia's health workforce position paper. Canberra: Australian Government Printing Service.

        • Rowan P.
        • Barber P.
        Clinical facilitators: A new way of working.
        Nursing Standard. 2000; 14: 35-38
        • Saunders R.
        • White K.
        • Davis S.
        • Leslie G.
        • Hill O.
        • Sarich K.
        Clinical placements of nurses in WA: A project to assess and improve the quality and scope of clinical education.
        Edith Cowan University, Perth2006
        • Street A.F.
        Action research.
        in: Minichiello V. Sullivan G. Greenwood K. Axford R. Research methods for nursing and health science. 2nd ed. Pearson Education, Frenchs Forest2004: 278-294
        • Turner C.
        • Davies E.
        • Beattie H.
        • Vickerstaff J.
        • Wilkinson G.
        Developing an innovative undergraduate curriculum—Responding to the 2002 national review of nursing education in Australia.
        Collegian. 2006; 13: 7-14
        • Walker K.
        Postmodern pedagogy and the nursing curriculum: Collaborating for excellence.
        Collegian. 2006; 12: 36-40
        • Williams A.
        • Wellard S.J.
        • Bethune E.
        Assessing Australian undergraduate clinical learning.
        Collegian. 2001; 8: 9-13
        • Wood D.
        Effects of educational focus on a graduate nurse's initial choice of practice area.
        Journal of Professional Nursing. 1998; 14: 214-219
        • Wottan K.
        • Gonda J.
        Clinician and student evaluation of a collaborative clinical teaching model.
        Nurse Education in Practice. 2004; 4: 120-127