Year

2017

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

School of Nursing

Abstract

Registered Nurses in Australia are expected to provide professional development to pre-registration nursing students by teaching and supporting them during their clinical placements. The expectation to be involved in the professional development of nursing students is indicated within nursing standards which are, in turn, embedded within the licence to practice as a Registered Nurse. This research aimed to explore Registered Nurses’ understanding of the nursing standard requirement to provide professional development to pre-registration nursing students by teaching and supporting them during their clinical placements. Using a Grounded Theory approach, fifteen Registered Nurse participants from the state of Queensland, Australia, were interviewed. Consistent with Grounded Theory methodology, data from the semi-structured interviews was analysed using a constant comparative method to develop a substantive theory. The substantive theory, grounded in data, developed as a result of this research is Doing the Right Thing. The core category that emerged as a result of rigorous data analysis is the right thing to do and is informed by four elements, namely; ‘sense of responsibility’, ‘an added extra’, ‘choice’ and ‘nursing standard’.

The theory of Doing the Right Thing describes how Registered Nurses provide professional development to pre-registration nursing students by teaching and supporting them on their clinical placements because they believe it is the right thing to do. The theory is unique and offers new knowledge regarding the professional development of nursing students in the clinical environment. The theory could be used by both tertiary institutions and health care facilities to understand why Registered Nurses provide professional development to pre-registration nursing students and teach and support them during their clinical placements. Understanding the social processes involved, as described in the theory of Doing the Right Thing, could be beneficial to health care service management and tertiary institutions to understand behaviour by Registered Nurses towards nursing students. It is therefore anticipated that this theory can be used to ultimately improve pre-registration nursing students’ clinical placement experiences. The expectation to provide professional development to pre-registration nursing students by teaching and supporting them on their clinical placements is written into many countries’ nursing standards and because of this, the theory of Doing the Right Thing may be translatable to Registered Nurses not only in Australia, but also to Registered Nurses in other countries.

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