Year

2016

Degree Name

Master of Philosophy

Department

School of Nursing

Abstract

Nursing has always been an occupation where students require substantial levels of clinical placement and professional experience prior to registration. Nursing education is now undertaken at a tertiary level in Australia and students are required to complete no less than 800 clinical placement hours during their pre-registration degree. Without clinical placements, student nurses cannot learn practical skills in an authentic world setting.

The aim of this study was to develop a substantive theory that presents an understanding of the factors that influence clinical placement providers to offer clinical placements for preregistration nursing students and concomitantly to contribute to an understanding of why clinical placements are not offered.

The study used a qualitative approach and was guided by a Grounded Theory methodology. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with nine persons who self-identified as the person who made the decisions to accept or decline pre-registration nursing student clinical placements. Analysis of the data was based on the Grounded Theory constant comparative method.

The resulting Grounded Theory for this Master’s research is the theory of ‘Relational Strength’. This substantive theory asserts that the primary influence when offering clinical placement for pre-registration nursing students is the Strength of the Relationship between the universities and the Clinical Placement Provider (CPP).

Understanding the factors that influence CPPs to offer clinical placements for pre-registration nursing students will afford higher education and health service providers’ valuable information to assist in ensuring appropriate clinical placements continue to be offered for pre-registration nursing students.

Without meaningful partnerships, offers of clinical placement can be impacted upon. Without clinical placements student nurses will not gain the clinical exposure that is required to prepare them to be safe and competent clinicians and meet regulatory requirements.

It is anticipated that the findings of this research will contribute to clinical placement availability through the development of strong beneficial relationships between preregistration universities and clinical placement providers, ultimately impacting positively on overall clinical placement provision and contribute to enhancement of working relationships between universities and clinical placement providers within Australia.

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