Innovative mental health clinical placement: developing nurses' relationship skills
Engagement in clinical placements is mandatory for all pre-registration nursing programs. Although clinical placements can be valuable, recent literature illustrates that placements within a mental health setting can vary in their educational development. The aim of the current study was to examine the potential learning benefit of 20 pre-registration nursing students in an innovative, university-accredited mental health clinical placement called Recovery Camp. Recovery Camp is a 5-day immersive clinical placement, grounded in therapeutic recreation, which involves all participants engaging in a variety of activities focused on enhancing personal recovery. Qualitative data were collected using individual interviews, reflective journals, and researcher field notes. Analysis of data was conducted using an inductive thematic approach. Analysis of data revealed five themes: (a) Initial Anxiety/Nervousness, (b) Diffusion of Power, (c) Student Perceptions of Consumers, (d) Interaction and Communication, and (e) Resource Shift as a Result of Camp. Developing the professional learning of pre-registration nurses through immersion in effective clinical placements is paramount. Findings demonstrate that pre-registration nurses may benefit from clinical placements that provide immersive and collaborative experiences that allow for the development of relationship-oriented skills that can facilitate person-centered care.