Undergraduate nursing students' lived experiences with preceptors during their clinical placement at a psychiatric hospital in the Western Cape
Due to the large student-supervisor ratio, a school of nursing at an university in the Western Cape, developed specific preceptorship training for professional nurses working in e.g. psychiatric hospitals. This aimed at improving the clinical teaching expertise of professional nurses and ensuring positive experiences around placement of student nurses. It was unclear how undergraduate student nurses experienced their interactions with their preceptors while placed in psychiatric units. The study used a descriptive phenomenological design to describe the lived experiences of student nurses with preceptors during their clinical placement at a psychiatric hospital. Undergraduate student nurses who were allocated to a preceptor at a psychiatric hospital in the Western Cape served as the population of the study. Purposive sampling was applied and individual unstructured interviews (n=11) held. This study adopted Collaizi's method of data analysis. Results of this study indicated that the nurse preceptors played a supportive role towards students during placement in psychiatric units. This resulted in meeting the students' objectives and needs in clinical placement. A challenge around a comprehensive learning environment was interpreted as a great need during students' training. Ethical clearance was sought from the Ethics Committee of the University of the Western Cape and ethical principles followed in conducting the study. Trustworthiness was ensured during the research process.