The perceptions of registered nurses in clinical settings with regards to their role in student clinical accompaniment

Maditjani, Digapeng Catherine
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Student nurse clinical accompaniment forms an important part of the nurse’s practical training, as nursing is a practice based profession. During their training student nurses are required to spend 60% of their time in the clinical setting to attain proficiency of prescribed nursing skills, in order to meet their clinical requirements as prescribed by the South African Nursing Council (Mellish, Bruce and Klopper: 2011). In many Nursing Education Institutions (NEI) student nurses are first exposed to theory in the classroom setting and observe clinical skills procedures in the NEI’s skills laboratories or simulation centres, to enable the student nurses to transition from “doll” to a “real’ patient. This method of training assist the student nurses to apply and practice what they have learnt in theory in a clinical setting, helping them to make sense of what they have learnt in the classroom. Therefore it is vital for student nurses to have clinical exposure to develop skills competencies and confidence, as well as to stimulate and develop critical thinking, clinical judgment and problem solving skills. This is achieved through clinical accompaniment that includes teaching, guidance and mentorship. All health care personnel are required to participate in guiding students and role model positive behaviours that will assist the learners in acquiring skills and developing professional attitude and attributes. The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions of registered nurses regarding their clinical accompaniment role, as well as the factors that hinder or encourage their involvement in fulfilling their role in an academic hospital in Gauteng. The sample was selected from two disciplines namely the Medical and Obstetrics disciplines. A qualitative descriptive and explorative research design was used to answer the research questions. The data collection tool used was a question guide created and facilitated by the researcher using focus group discussions of between 5-7 participants per recorded focus group. Data was analysed using qualitative thematic analysis. The study showed that RNs acknowledge that clinical accompaniment of student nurses is one of their roles and responsibilities and are involved in clinical accompaniment of student nurses, but there are both negative and positive factors that influence the fulfilment of their role. The RNs indicated that the increased workload and student nurses’ negative attitudes affected their participation in clinical accompaniment of students. A lack of support from the NEIs and hospital management was also described as a limiting factor by the RNs to effective student nurse accompaniment. The RNs stated that the student nurses that showed interest and were eager to learn motivated them to be involved in student accompaniment Recommendations The establishment of programmes which support the RNs in the clinical setting can assist the RNs in fulfilling their role with active involvement of all role players in student nurse training. A platform whereby the RNs, NEIs and management can express their challenges and suggestions can be created to plan for optimum delivery of clinical accompaniment. The effective introduction of the preceptor model designed according to the needs of specified settings would be a support to the RNs. This should be implemented with the student nurses interest as priority. The findings of the study can generate further research on the perceptions of clinical tutors on their role in clinical accompaniment.
A research report submitted to the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Nursing. Johannesburg 2018.
Nurse Practical Training (Preceptorship)