Students’ perception of the psycho-social clinical learning environment: An evaluation of placement models
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Nursing is a practice based discipline. A supportive environment has been identified as important for the transfer of learning in the clinical context. The aim of the paper was to assess undergraduate nurses' perceptions of the psychosocial characteristics of clinical learning environments within three different clinical placement models. Three hundred and eight-nine undergraduate nursing students rated their perceptions of the psycho-social learning environment using a Clinical Learning Environment Inventory. There were 16 respondents in the Preceptor model category, 269 respondents in the Facilitation model category and 114 respondents in the clinical education unit model across 25 different clinical areas in one tertiary facility. The most positive social climate was associated with the preceptor model. On all subscales the median score was rated higher than the two other models. When clinical education units were compared with the standard facilitation model the median score was rated higher in all of the subscales in the Clinical Learning Environment Inventory. These results suggest that while preceptoring is an effective clinical placement strategy that provides psycho-social support for students, clinical education units that are more sustainable through their placement of greater numbers of students, can provide greater psycho-social support for students than traditional models.
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