The value of the pre-hospital learning environment as part of the emergency nursing programme
Background: Professional nurses enrolled in a post-basic emergency nursing programme presented at a tertiary nursing education institution in South Africa are placed in different clinical learning environments to reach the set clinical outcomes and gain appropriate clinical experience. These students are placed in the hospital environment (emergency department and critical care unit) and pre-hospital environment (road ambulance services) to ensure they gain the necessary clinical exposure in order to learn the relevant and necessary skills and knowledge which in turn will help them become safe and independent emergency nurse practitioners. Controversy about the value of placing emergency nursing students in the pre hospital environment has raised questions from specifically the private healthcare sector. During the pre-hospital placement, emergency nursing students are absent from the hospital environment which is costly and, according to the healthcare services, unnecessary.
Objective: The study explored the views of the emergency nurse students regarding the value of rotating through the pre-hospital learning environment during an emergency nursing programme.
Methods: A qualitative, explorative, descriptive and contextual research design using an Appreciative Inquiry approach was used to collect the data. Through purposive sampling a total of 45 emergency nursing students participated. Data was collected by means of selfreported Appreciative Inquiry interview guides and individual Appreciative Inquiry interviews. The data was analysed using content analysis.
Results: Four major themes were identified: an unpredictable environment, role players in emergency medical services, team work, and competencies.
Conclusion: The research findings support the value and continuation of utilising the prehospital clinical learning environment for placing post-basic emergency nursing students when enrolled in the emergency nursing programme.
Keywords: Emergency nursing programme, Clinical experience, Pre-hospital environment
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