Experiences of a group of student nurses regarding mentoring in the clinical practice / Tshabalala R.N.
Tshabalala, Rachell Nomakhosi
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Professional growth and development in nursing is essential for public welfare and safety. The public expects competent and safe nursing care. Student nurses spend a large number of hours in the clinical practice as part of their professional and clinical development. A clinical environment that is supportive to the improvement of student teaching and learning is imperative to the development of competency of student nurses. One strategy that has been identified to facilitate professional growth and development in student nurses is mentoring in the clinical practice. This is where student nurses are socialized into the nursing profession by experienced professional nurses. Mentoring is regarded as the deliberate pairing of student nurses with an experienced and knowledgeable person. The primary purpose of this research was to explore and describe the experiences of student nurses regarding mentoring in the clinical practice at the Eastern Campus of the Free State School of Nursing (ECFSSON). The secondary purpose was to recommend to the nursing college and clinical service areas to jointly formulate guidelines for mentoring student nurses in the clinical practice. A qualitative, exploratory, descriptive and contextual research design was chosen in order to describe the experiences of mentoring of student nurses in the clinical practice. Purposive sampling was utilized to identify participants who complied with the set selection criteria. The sample comprised student nurses who were in their final year of the four year programme. Data collection took place by means of four focus group interviews with a total of twenty four student nurses (7:6:6:5), which was followed by a confirmatory focus group interview with ten participants. Trustworthiness was ensured in accordance with the principles of credibility, transferability, dependability and confirmability. Data was captured on an audiotape and transcribed verbatim. Field notes were taken during each focus group. Content analysis of the data was analyzed by the researcher and an independent co–coder. After consensus and data saturation, four major themes and twenty–one sub–themes were identified. The first theme described the student nurses' experiences of being mentored in the clinical practice and has five sub–themes. The second theme described the student nurses' experiences regarding mentoring by personnel and has eight sub–themes. The third theme described the student nurses' experiences regarding mentoring in different disciplines. The fourth theme described the student nurses' experiences regarding mentoring in different institutions. Each of these themes was discussed together with relevant data obtained from literature and reduced to a conclusive statement which serves as a basis for recommendation to formulate guidelines for mentoring student nurses in the clinical practice. Several conclusions were reached. Student nurses have positive as well as negative experiences about their mentoring in clinical practice. The personnel in clinical practice have different roles in the mentoring of students and the responsibility of mentoring is not clear. The mentoring of lecturers from the educational institution was also experienced as not enough. The research report concluded with the researcher's evaluation of the research and recommendations for nursing service, nursing education and nursing research to improve mentoring of student nurses in clinical practice.
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