Nursing students' experience of clinical practice in primary health care clinics
Zulu, Beauty Mchaisi
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The 2008 World Health Report emphasises that we need “primary health care (PHC) now more than ever”. Competent primary health care providers who “put people first” are required in the front line in order to make a difference. The need for widely accessible, competent and caring professional nurses thus places expectations on training programmes and health services. In South Africa, a number of studies have been conducted on primary health care and methods of teaching clinical competence to nursing students (Truscott 2010; Magobe et al. 2010; Naledi et al. 2010) but not on the experiences of nursing students during PHC practice. The researcher observed that the emphasis on the positive, supportive and helpful experiences of nursing students in coping with challenges during their clinical practice was distinctly lacking. The objective of the study was to explore and describe the experiences of nursing students during the clinical practice in PHC settings. It was expected that this information will enable the researcher to formulate recommendations to support nursing students to cope with challenges during clinical practice in a PHC setting. A qualitative descriptive inquiry, with an appreciative approach was used. Five semi-structured focus group interviews were conducted to obtain data. The population comprised of 4th year nursing students who were selected using purposive sampling with the assistance of a mediator, namely the Head of the Department for PHC at a Nursing College. The sample size was determined by data saturation. Data analysis was carried out simultaneously with the collection of data. Fifteen main themes were identified during a consensus discussion between the researcher and the co-coder. The main findings related to the meaning students attached to being placed in a PHC clinic; positive, supportive and helpful experiences; how they can be supported and what help them cope irrespective of challenges they experienced. Conclusions were drawn which pertained to: placement in a PHC setting for clinical practice; positive, supportive and helpful experiences; support when placed at a PHC setting for clinical practice and coping measures when placed at a PHC setting for clinical practice; and recommendations were formulated for nursing education, nursing research and nursing practice that focused on supporting and empowering nursing students to cope with challenges experienced at a PHC setting.
- Health Sciences