The clinical environment: A facilitator of professional socialisation
Background: Competencies of health care workers, including nurses, often do not meet the health needs of populations. The clinical learning environment (CLE) is vital in socialising neophyte student nurses to display the desired competencies. Student nurses are however confronted with challenges, especially in the CLE, during this process.
Aim: This article shares three validated guidelines to support professional nurses and nurse educators in facilitating appropriate professional socialisation of student nurses in the CLE.
Setting: The study was conducted in an 832-bed academic hospital and nine nursing education institutions (NEIs) that offered the nursing programme concerned in a province in South Africa.
Method: A sequential, exploratory, mixed-methods study was conducted and qualitative data were collected from two purposive samples, consisting of seven focus group interviews and field notes. Five themes that emerged from the integrated data guided the instrument design to collect data quantitatively from 277 educators. Experts validated 10 guidelines to a set of criteria, which was developed combining all data.
Results: Qualitative and quantitative research evidenced that the CLE mostly did not support student nurses during professional socialisation. A few role models’ behaviour was noteworthy, while student supervision was inadequate. The CLE was stressful, lacked in resources, marked
by uncoordinated student placement, insufficient communication and inadequate preparation of student nurses. This evidence informed the development of the guidelines.
Conclusions: The guidelines were (1) the empowerment of role models through reflective practice, (2) capacity building of professional nurses and nurse educators as clinical supervisors by means of intervention strategies and (3) adopting a multifaceted approach in the creation of a positive CLE. These guidelines could facilitate appropriate professional socialisation of student nurses.
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