Experiences of first-year University of the Western Cape nursing students during first clinical placement in hospital
MetadataShow full item record
In nursing education the clinical component comprises an important part of the students’ training. Clinical teaching and learning happens in simulated as well as real world settings. First–year students spend the first quarter of their first year developing clinical skills in the skills laboratory. In the second-term they are placed in real service settings. This study was aimed at exploring the experiences of first year nursing students of the University of the Western Cape (UWC) during their first clinical placement in the hospital. A qualitative phenomenological exploratory study design was used and a purposive sample of twelve nursing students was selected to participate in the study. The research question was “Describe your experiences during your first placement in hospital?” Written informed consent was given by every participant and ethical approval was obtained from the relevant UWC structures. In-depth, face-to-face interviews were conducted, audio taped and transcribed verbatim. Transcripts were coded and sub-categories, categories, and themes were extracted during the data analysis process. Trustworthiness of the data collection and data analysis processes were ensured. Many of the first year nursing students described their experience in hospital as being stressful. However, the first placement in hospital allowed them to work with real patients and provided them an opportunity to develop a variety of clinical skills. Even though the hospital environment was unfamiliar and the ward staff unwelcoming, the patients’ acknowledged and valued their contribution to patient care. Students tend to seek support from family members and lecturers. It is recommended that first year nursing students be prepared adequately for their first placement in hospital as well as to provide practical and emotional support to students during their hospital placement.