Clinical supervisors’ experience of supervising nursing students from a higher education institution in the Western Cape
Nursing students’ clinical abilities are highly dependent on the quality of the clinical experience obtained, while placed in the clinical environment. The clinical environment has key role players, which include the clinical supervisor. The primary role of the clinical supervisor is to guide nursing students to become best practice nursing professionals. However, globally, literature alludes to the failure of educating institutions to deliver competent nursing professionals, to meet the needs of patients and deliver quality patient care. Anecdotal evidence at the participating university indicated the possibility that various factors such as high student supervisor ratio and increased workload for clinical supervisors may impact on the ability of the supervisors to function effectively in the clinical settings. At the participating university, this may have been due to various factors, such as large student numbers, as well as social and environmental challenges experienced by the clinical supervisors. The aim of this study was to explore and describe the lived experiences of clinical supervisors, who supervise nursing students at a higher education institution. The study employed a qualitative research approach, utilizing a descriptive phenomenological design. Purposive sampling was used to select eight (8) participants, who were all clinical supervisors of first and second-year nursing students at the HEI (Higher Education Institution) under study. Data was collected by means of in-depth interviews and analysed, using Tesch’s method of data analysis. The five (5) major themes identified, focused on the experiences of clinical supervisors regarding: time as a constraint to job productivity; the impact of the organisational culture on the fluidity of support; limited resources; interpersonal relationships as a dynamic communication process; and impact on the self. In this study, participants focused on their experience of clinical supervision as it related to time, the organisational culture, resources and the impact of the experience on the self. The researcher based on the findings concluded that clinical supervisors are generally satisfied with their jobs and they love the teaching role that they portray. They are unhappy with the circumstances, that they experiencing as challenging in which they must do their clinical supervisor job.