Work integrated learning experiences of primary health care post basic nursing students in clinical settings
Sibiya, Nontuthuzelo Elizabeth
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Background : Work Integrated Learning is an educational approach that aligns academic and workplace practices for the mutual benefit of students and workplaces. Work Integrated Learning like in any other nursing course is essential in primary health care as required by the South African Nursing Council. In the clinical setting, students develop clinical and diagnostic reasoning; they also learn how to make the appropriate clinical decisions which they need as qualified primary health care practitioners. This is achieved through instruction and guidance by lecturers, mentors and clinical staff. However it has been noted that the clinical learning environment confronts students with challenges that are absent from the classroom situation. So this study seeks to explore and describe the experiences of post basic nursing students in primary health care clinics so as to address the challenges that are faced within the clinical settings. Aim of the study The aim of the study was to explore and describe primary health care post basic nursing students’ experiences during clinical placements. Methodology : A descriptive exploratory qualitative approach was used to guide the study. In-depth interviews were conducted with ten primary health care post basic nursing students who were allocated for Work Integrated Learning at the clinics in District A and District B in 2011. The main research question for this study was asked: ‘What are the experiences of primary health care post basic nursing students regarding Work Integrated Learning?’ Results : The findings of this study revealed that Work Integrated Learning is vital for the development of clinical skills amongst primary health care post basic nursing students. However, shortage of staff, inadequate material/ non-human resources, lack of supervision in the clinical facilities, distant clinical facilities and insufficient practice in the clinical skills laboratory were identified as challenges that students experience during Work Integrated Learning placement.