All student nurses are allocated clinical placements throughout their three year course, in which to develop their practical skills. Whilst in practice, they are supported by a designated mentor, who is the student’s identified lead for educational support. In this context, mentor support is provided by practitioners, who have undertaken an approved mentor preparation programme, approved by the regulatory body, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) (Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2008). The Code of Professional Conduct (Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2015) outlines a responsibility for all registered nurses and midwives, known as registrants, to facilitate the education of learners in clinical practice. I am aware from discussions with students, and overhearing their conversations in the classroom setting that they perceive their placements to vary in quality, with some feeling they have benefitted from very strong, beneficial placements, through to others who do not feel so advantaged educationally. Some students perceive that they may have had an experience that was inequitable in comparison with peers, whilst others may comment that they don’t feel they learnt as much when comparing with previous placements. As such, I am aware that a perception exists that there are “good” and “bad” placements in the eyes of students. Having been a student myself, I am fully conversant with the fact that students will compare one placement experience with another and will also discuss their experiences with peers (Foster et al., 2014). The NMC dictates that the nursing course is built on 50% theory, and 50% clinical placements – thus ensuring that students gain an opportunity to gain experience in a range of clinical settings (Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2008). A dedicated team within the university is responsible for the allocation of a broad range of placement experiences (community and hospital) to all students on a nursing course. Placement learning opportunities vary significantly in context, and it must be noted that no two placement settings are easily comparable. It is important to note the uniqueness of students and mentors, as all have a preferred way in which to teach and learn, and as such this factor must also be considered a significant variable. In my mind, the key features of a work placement are to provide students with an experience similar to that of qualified status, as placements allow them to immerse themselves into the clinical setting. They are able to practice, under supervision, the skills they have been taught in the classroom setting and to develop their practice in readiness for qualification. Placements should also develop confidence and provide an opportunity to demonstrate competency to mentors.
|Brighton Journal of Research in Health Sciences
|Published - 9 Feb 2016