Clinical placements are vital for nursing students’ education, for workplace culture exposure and to enable translation of theory into practice. However, the quality of nursing students’ clinical education varies greatly with Australian students exposed to negative (Jarvelainen et al.(2018) and positive experiences (Paliadelis & Wood, 2016).
The Council of Deans Nursing and Midwifery (Aust & NZ) is currently supporting the development of a new student placement evaluation tool in order to evaluate placement quality. The aim is to develop a questionnaire that will reflect the experiences of Australian nursing students across a range of national placements. Improved and structured feedback from students about the clinical environment and their learning will ultimately improve the quality of placements in Australia.
The project is led by Professor Simon Cooper of Federation University Australia (Victoria) and Associate Professor Amanda Henderson of University of the Sunshine Coast (QLD) in partnership with academics from five other universities in eastern Australia.
A draft version of the new tool, called the Placement Evaluation Tool (PET), was developed in a multi-stage consultation process with input from students, clinical academics, nurse educators and placement co-ordinators.
In the second half of 2019 the PET is being piloted with a survey of nursing students from all year levels in seven universities situated in Victoria, NSW and QLD.
Two key aspects are measured including students’ perceptions of the clinical learning environment (eg. are they welcome, is there encouraging and supportive supervision) and their learning (eg. skills and knowledge development, amount of practice and feedback).
“The new tool will be a valid and reliable method of student feedback, with survey responses ultimately enabling improvements in students’ learning,” Professor Cooper said.
Details of the project outcomes and publication of the PET are expected in early 2020.
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Jarvelainen, M., Cooper, S. and Jones, J., 2018. Nursing students’ educational experience in regional Australia: Reflections on acute events. A qualitative review of clinical incidents. Nurse Education in Practice, 31, 188-193.
Paliadelis, P. and Wood, P., 2016. Learning from clinical placement experience: Analysing nursing students’ final reflections in a digital storytelling activity. Nurse Education in Practice, 20, 39-44.
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