A scoping review of clinical skill development of preregistration registered nurses in Australia and five other English-speaking countries

Publication Name

Journal of Clinical Nursing


Aim: The aim of this scoping review is to synthesise current evidence around the clinical skill development of preregistration registered nurses (RNs) in Australia, United Kingdom (UK), Ireland, United States (US), Canada and New Zealand, to inform nurse education, policy and clinical practice. Background: Nursing is a practical profession, and registered nurses require specific skills, knowledge and attributes in order to care for patients safely. The context for health care delivery is shifting, and the education of nurses must adapt to effectively equip the registered nurse of the future. Design: A scoping review was conducted of clinical skill development in preregistration nurses. CINAHL Plus, MEDLINE, Health Source (Nursing/Academic edition) and Scopus were searched. Included studies were primary Australian studies and international literature reviews, which focussed on preregistration nursing education. Papers were written in the English language and focussed on clinical skill development. Results were synthesised narratively. The review is reported here in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-analyses Scoping Review extension (PRISMA-ScR) guidelines. Results: One hundred fifty-five Australia studies and 89 international reviews were included in the review. Six key themes were identified, namely clinical skills, approaches to teaching and learning, interprofessional education, assessment of learning, clinical placement and simulation. Conclusion: There is substantial variation in strategies and programmes to facilitate clinical skill development both within Australia and internationally, indicating a genuine shift away from traditional didactic pedagogy. New graduate registered nurses were expected to be “work-ready,” albeit at a novice level, when they enter the workplace. Future research should consider measures of impact on actual clinical practice and focus on developing work-ready graduates for the range of clinical settings in which they may practice. Educators, policymakers and educational institutions can use these findings to inform curriculum developments to ensure that clinical skill development is evidence-based.

Open Access Status

This publication may be available as open access

Funding Sponsor

Department of Health, Australian Government



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