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Nursing students’ experiences of clinical placement in community settings: A qualitative study

      Summary

      Background

      Changing community demographics and the rising incidence of chronic and complex conditions has exacerbated the primary care workload. Encouraging beginning nurses to view primary care nursing as a viable career option will help alleviate the workforce stress of this specialty. Whilst higher education institutions (HEI's) have increased the exposure of pre-registration nurses to community settings, there has been limited exploration of this experience from the perspective of pre-registration nurses. As potential key service providers, it is important to identify factors which influence how pre-registration nurses view primary care placements in the community.

      Aim

      This study seeks to explore the experiences of pre-registration nursing students following community based clinical placements and to explore the impact of this placement on their learning.

      Design

      A qualitative design was employed in this study.

      Participants

      Nine pre-registration nursing students were recruited from a research intensive single campus of an Australian university.

      Methods

      In-depth semi-structured interviews.

      Findings

      Findings are presented in the following four themes: (1) autonomy in practice: “you make your own decisions”, (2) working with highly skilled nurses: “their knowledge was just incredible”, (3) focusing on holistic care: “they’d obviously built rapport with these people”, and (4) showing genuine interest in educating students: “they got me involved”.

      Conclusion

      Exposure to community settings was a positive learning experience for pre-registration nursing students. Further research needs to focus on the impact of these placements on both clinical skills acquisition and job choices into the future.

      Keywords

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