A multitude of fears coupled with excitement – children’s nursing students feelings prior to their first practice placement

Brady, M, Price, J, Finnerty, G and Bolland, R (2015) A multitude of fears coupled with excitement – children’s nursing students feelings prior to their first practice placement. In: Developing Health Educators for the Future: A Multiprofessional Education Conference for London and the South East; 07 Jul 2015, London, U.K.. (Unpublished)


Introduction: The first practice placement is of upmost importance for nursing students, causing considerable anxiety (Brien, 2012) and is part-way attributed to an increased risk of attrition during and after this experience (Melling, 2011). Providing students with adequate preparation for and support during placement is central to their learning and development, thus ensuring that they are fit for professional practice and registration at qualification (NMC, 2010). Aims: Taken from a study examining preparation for and support during the first practice placement as children’s nursing students, from the perspective of both students and professionals, this paper highlights the anxieties experienced by students and the strategies which helped prepare and support them during their introduction to nursing practice. Methods: Data were collected by a specifically designed self-administered questionnaire from 21 children’s nursing students prior to their first placement. A focus group was held with 5 students following the placement and used the Nominal Group technique to build consensus around what helped prepare them for practice and made suggestions for future preparation. Results: The questionnaire suggested that most students, although looking forward to their first clinical experience, were anxious to appear interested and helpful. Fitting in and getting on with their mentor(s) was also of concern. They were also fearful of making mistakes and keen to demonstrate their professionalism, despite being novices. The focus group highlighted that, of the activities provided by the university educators, meeting a senior student was the most helpful, followed by making pre-placement visits, telephone calls, peer support and the placement website. During the placement the relationship with their mentor(s) and other staff were highly valued. Discussion/Implications/Conclusions: Whilst the students had worries prior to placement, the preparation provided by both the hosting trust and the academic institution helped buffer the anxiety experienced, alongside a welcoming mentor. If the mentor was not particularly friendly the student attached themselves to someone who they perceived to be more helpful, in some cases that person being a third year student. Peer support and sharing of knowledge was therefore crucial and involving a senior student in a preparation for practice session is a clear recommendation. References: Brien, S (2012) Beyond Competence – Literature Review Final Report. Southampton University: HEA. Melling, S. (2011) Transition: an exploration of student nurse experience in their first practice placement. Unpublished D.Ed. thesis. University of Nottingham. Nursing and Midwifery Council (2010) Standards for Pre-Registration Nursing Education. London: NMC.

Actions (Repository Editors)

Item Control Page Item Control Page