Aims & rationale/Objectives: This study aims to explore the experiences of pre-registration nursing students on a primary care clinical placement. The growth of primary health care is driving the need to prepare a workforce with the knowledge and skills to work in diverse primary care settings. Whilst more pre-registration nursing students now experience primary care clinical placements, there is limited exploration of this learning experience. Given the impact clinical placements have on future career choices, it is important to identify the enablers and barriers which influence how pre-registration nurses view primary care placements.
Methods: Forty-five nursing students from an Australian research intensive University took part in an on-line survey. The survey instrument combined demographic items with the Clinical Learning Environment Inventory-19 and Quality Clinical Placement Inventory. Fifteen survey participants also participated in semi-structured telephone interviews.
Findings: Quantitative findings in all sub-scales clearly reveal a positive trend of support for pre-registration clinical placements in primary care settings. Qualitative data established that relationships with the supervising nurse, model of supervision, a culture of respect and acceptance, and exposure to learning experiences were considered positive enablers of the learning environment and were valued by participants.
Implications: Exploration of pre-registration nursing clinical placements in primary care is important to evaluate the effectiveness of these placements in terms of student learning. Also, insights such as these have the potential to inform strategies that may improve the student experience; promote recruitment into the speciality and encourage the retention of students in nursing programs