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Title: Student nurses' lived experiences of their last practice placement
Author: Phillips, Jill
ISNI:       0000 0004 6350 2411
Awarding Body: Bournemouth University
Current Institution: Bournemouth University
Date of Award: 2017
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Since the mandatory twelve week minimum placement was introduced in 2010 by the regulatory body for nursing in the UK, there is little documented as to its effectiveness from the students’ perspective. The aim of this study was to explore the lived experiences of ten student nurses as they completed a longer than usual practice placement as the last component of their undergraduate pre-registration nursing education. Previously students had been allocated to practice for periods of five or six weeks and this was the first time they had experienced a longer placement. Using a descriptive phenomenological approach, a purposive sample of ten student nurses were interviewed within one week of completing their final three months in practice in July 2013. Data were analysed using Giorgi’s (2009) modified Husserlian approach to descriptive phenomenology. Findings revealed the four invariant constituents of: belongingness and fitting in; taking charge of own learning; making sense of the complexities of nursing; and becoming a nurse. Discussion exposed not only challenges to current thinking from the collective views of ten students in the south of England, but revealed a process of transformative learning that the students journeyed to prepare themselves for registration as a professional nurse. Fuelled by their mentors facilitating and encouraging autonomous practice, students began to experience a sense of awakening to the responsibilities and accountability that they faced as a registered nurse. New insights from this research suggest that more could be done to enhance the final practice placement experience for students on the point of transition. It is seen as a dress rehearsal for the real world of work as a registered nurse and mentors should supervise at arm’s length and encourage students to work things out for themselves, take risks and make decisions. Nurse educators should recognise that during the extended last placement students re- contextualise their knowledge as they begin to make sense of the complexities of nursing practice. Conclusions from this study support the notion that a longer final practice placement helps students to prepare for their impending transition to registered practice. It recognises the key role of the mentor in supporting all four invariant constituents and the process that these students undertook to gain the confidence and competence to practise as a qualified nurse. This new knowledge is of interest to a wider audience concerned with the preparation of undergraduate pre-registration nursing students both in the UK and abroad.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available