Preparing nurses and engaging preceptors
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This chapter examines the preparation of undergraduate student nurses to become functioning registered nurses through their experiences in practice settings. Learning in the health professional setting is such that no two individuals undertaking the same health professional course at the same institution experience or are exposed to identical education and learning (Darcy Associates, 2009). The healthcare workforce is a complex entity that provides ongoing challenges for the preparation of professionals. Nursing comprises the largest component of the Australian health sector's workforce and there are significant problems with preparing, recruiting and retaining nurses (Sheumack, Turner, Brooks, & Moloney, 2008). These problems include: (i) existing models of initial nursing education not being wholly effective in developing nursing capacities and identities required for effective nursing work; (ii) nursing work not always providing adequate space for effective professional development; (iii) the formation of a positive professional identity that engages and sustains the working life of nursing not being realised through practice; and (iv) differences in the institutional practices of nurse education institutions and hospitals working against the provision of effective initial and ongoing development of nurses' work. Furthermore, the health sector is faced with shortages partly associated with the high attrition of new graduates (McMeeken, Grant, Webb, Krause, & Garnett, 2008) and the retirement of the 'ageing baby boomer' healthcare workforce within the next decade (Schofield, Page, Lyle, & Walker, 2006). Several authors have proposed that current generational spread across the healthcare workforce is influencing staff development and retention (Boychuk Duchscher & Cowin, 2004; Clausing, Kurtz, Prendeville, & Walt, 2003). Collectively, these problems constitute a complex challenge for those concerned with developing nurses' practice, learning, identity and sustainable institutional practices to ensure that nurses develop and maintain a continuing sense of worth about their work within the health sector. Hence, it is important to identity practices that can support novice nurses in learning the capacities to become and identify strongly with being a nurse. This is essential to enable individuals to deliver quality patient care.
Developing Learning Professionals: integrating experiences in university and practice settings
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