oa Curationis - Student nurses' perceptions of guidance and support in rural hospitals : original research



Clinical guidance and support of nursing students in rural hospitals is a challenge for novice nurses, who rotate amongst accredited hospitals throughout the province for clinical exposure, and find themselves in an unfamiliar environment. Theory learned at the training college is integrated with clinical exposure at hospitals and supplemented through teaching by hospital staff. Nursing students complain about lack of support and guidance from professional nurses within the hospital, some feeling restricted in execution of their nursing tasks by professional nurses and other staff. Students perceived negative attitudes from clinical staff, a lack of clinical resources, inadequate learning opportunities and a lack of support and mentoring during their clinical exposure.

This article describes perceptions of guidance and support of nursing students by professional nurses in a rural hospital and suggests guidelines for clinical guidance and support of nursing students.
A qualitative, explorative, descriptive and contextual design was used. Two focus group interviews were employed to collect data from a sample drawn from level II nursing students from one training college in Limpopo Province, South Africa, on different days ( = 13; = 10). Qualitative content analysis was used to analyse data.
Three themes (mutual distrust and disrespect, hospital environment, and clinical guidance and support) and subthemes (student behaviour and staff behaviour) emerged.
Failure to support and guide nursing students professionally may lead to high turnover and absenteeism, resulting in students' refusal to be allocated to a rural hospital for clinical exposure. Proposed guidelines have been formulated for clinical guidance and support of nursing students at the selected rural hospital. The college and hospital management should foster collaboration between the college tutors and professional nurses to ensure adequate guidance and support of nursing students.


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