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Title: An investigation into nurses' views and experiences of what creates a clinical learning environment within acute in-patient psychiatric wards
Author: Ravello, Cherrie Valerie
Awarding Body: University of Bedfordshire
Current Institution: University of Bedfordshire
Date of Award: 2013
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Although I was trained as a nurse, I became curious about the views of psychiatric nursing staff as to what they feel would create a clinical learning environment for them. This was as a result of having my dearly beloved father admitted to a medical ward, and being on the receiving side of care. This created a fear in me that surprised me. I was scared at how my father would be treated if I was not present to witness his care. As a nurse, strangely, I felt that I could not trust the nurses to provide safe clinical care for/with my father. I began to feel concerned about the competencies of nurses as I observed the care that was being offered to him. My observation and experience was that the ward environment generated an atmosphere that needed a form of nursing care that was collaborative and transparent where the hand-over between professionals communicated the needs of the patients in their care – from making sure that patients’ bedding is comfortable, to checking whether they are trying to communicate something, to being sure that their medication has been properly given. This aroused my curiosity as to whether nursing staff themselves had views as to what is needed to have, or to create, an environment that sustained their original urge to take up nursing in the first place. I thus became curious to investigate the views and experiences of both qualified and non-qualified psychiatric nurses with the aim of improving the clinical learning environment within acute adult inpatient wards, as well as secure adult and male adolescent mental health inpatient wards, as these wards raise crucial issues to do with control, power, seclusion, rights and responsibilities, issues that are not easy for nurses to learn to deal with in their classroom training. For this study I interviewed sixteen staff members of wards within the National Health Service and the private sector. The staff varied in their experiences and qualification, from qualified mental health nurses to non-qualified nurses. My findings show that: (1) Nurses often felt the ward organisation had hindered their learning through the way in which it worked to organise them. (2) Nurses would have liked to experience a different kind of learning. However they were not sure in what way or how they would like the learning experience to be. (3) The expert nurses were able to work in a competent manner despite the sense of the organisation organising their practices, as they were able to sense which of the limited number of organisational possibilities were open to them so that their choices allowed for their practices to be learning experiences as well as providing sound clinical care. (4) Learning dialogues happen in contexts where nurses feel supported and where the episode of care in which they are engaged is also supported by a team approach and resourceful pulling together of skills and abilities. (5) There was a lack of space(s) for the nurses to use for reflection. (6) Nurses also expressed the need for supervision after an episode or critical event had taken place. (7) Throughout all the areas I inquired into, what was strongly echoed was that the psychiatric nurses all felt that they needed a voice within the organisation and its hierarchy of team structures within these wards. There was a felt sense that the nurses wanted and at times needed more expert nurses working in the teams. Overall, I was struck by the abilities which were brought to the forefront as the nurses shared their views and experiences of how they felt organised by the organisation. They were able to explore the factors that they felt would improve the quality of care that nurses provide and were able to share what they believe will help them in co-creating standards for how the clinical environment could become a learning environment for the nurses.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: B940 Counselling ; nursing ; clinical learning environment ; psychiatric nursing ; systemic practice