The assessment of the facilitation of the clinical training component of an undergraduate nursing programme at a University of Technology
Xaba, Nompumelelo Pearl
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Background All nursing students need to undergo clinical training for them to be competent practitioners when they qualify. According to the South African Nursing Council (SANC) training facilities are accredited only if the clinical training component is effective. Therefore, it is important that students are accompanied in order for them to grow professionally and have values as future health care professionals. In nursing education, a student throughout the nursing training course receives instruction both theoretically and clinically in the subjects prescribed in the curriculum by the SANC. Clinical instruction is effected through clinical teaching and learning, which is a requirement by the nursing regulatory body, the SANC. For an undergraduate programme a student has to spend a minimum of 1000 hours per year in clinical placement to meet programme outcomes. It is the responsibility of all nursing schools, colleges and universities to ensure that each student meets these requirements. For this to be effective it has to be facilitated by lecturers and clinical instructors, through teaching and learning strategies to enable students to perform the clinical skill with knowledge and eventual competence. Therefore, clinical instructors are there to ensure that the students are competent in all skills, such as cognitive, affective as well as psychomotor skills. This will be beneficial to the programme in reduction of rates of failure and dropout and again by producing competent practitioners. A positive relationship and collaboration between the clinical training institutions and clinical placement facilities is vital for student achievement, especially because the clinical instructors assist students in correlating theory and practice. This study sought to assess the clinical training component of an undergraduate programme at this UoT in KwaZulu Natal. Findings may inform an improved clinical instruction programme as no such study had been undertaken. Methods A qualitative and quantitative design was used to explore feelings, perceptions as well as experiences of staff and student nurses with regard to clinical training component. Stratified random sampling was used to select student nurses according to levels of training and questionnaires were used to collect data. All permanently employed staff who had been working over six months were selected since they were directly or indirectly involved in the clinical facilitation. A focus group interview was conducted for the clinical instructors and questionnaires were used for the lecturers to collect data. Themes and sub-themes emerged and on analysis they were compared to the findings from the quantitative survey. Results and discussion The results revealed that collaboration of clinical placement facilities and training institutions is important for student’s support since all parties are able to communicate freely and students benefit. Students stated that they did not get enough support since the clinical facilitators were short staffed and they were also allocated to facilities that were far from the campus. The respondents cited problems during clinical accompaniments as there were very high expectations by staff members in the placement areas regarding student support. Lecturers were also expected to involve themselves in clinical accompaniment to bridge theory-practice gap. The employment of mentors will assist in student support as the mentors will be at placement areas and the staff and students easily contact them. Conclusion From the interviews the researcher managed to come up with important aspects that should be included in an accompaniment tool when developed, which should be user friendly to both lecturers and clinical facilitators. It will thus assist students with critical skills including critical thinking when performing any patient related nursing skill. It was recommended that the UoT management support staff by attending to their concerns including finding more clinical placement facilities close to the campus.
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