Staged participation: student nurses’ and clinical facilitators’ perceptions of the clinical learning environment in Macau
Poon, Wai Sha
With the movement of nurse education into the higher education sector, the role of student nurses has moved from that of apprentices to learners with full student status on placement. Although supernumerary status is key to current nursing training, not much attention has been paid to its influence on student participation in the community of practice of the workplace. This thesis has set out to address this research gap. A qualitative dominant mixed methods study closely examined student participation on placement by comparing and contrasting students’, mentors’ and clinical instructors’ clinical learning and mentoring experiences and their perceptions of supernumerary status was carried out. Data were collected in a nursing college in Macau. In the qualitative part, a sample of seven third year and six fourth year student nurses were recruited to participate in a focus group interview corresponding to their year of study. In addition, five mentors and five clinical instructors were interviewed individually. Views from participants were compared and contrasted. For the quantitative part, all second to fourth year students were invited to respond to a questionnaire after placement. One hundred and fifty-one questionnaires were returned. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyse the quantitative data. This study revealed that there is a lack of clarity about supernumerary status among student nurses. However, students’, mentors’, clinical instructors’ and nurses’ perceptions of clinical learning and supernumerary status exert an impact on student participation on placement. Although students were temporary peripheral participants of the workplace, they had to be engaged in the clinical environment and authentic practice in order to create connections with the workplace and develop nurse identities. It was found that students who were facilitated by mentors, who were drawn from ward staff, had more opportunities to participate in qualified nurses’ work and work with the nursing team on placement than those supported by university-based clinical facilitators.