n Africa Journal of Nursing and Midwifery - Critical care student nurses' experiences of clinical accompaniment in opendistance learning : a phenomenological approach

Volume 13, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1682-5055


A qualitative hermeneutic phenomenological approach was used to explore and describe the experiences of critical care student nurses of clinical accompaniment in open distance learning (ODL) and to interpret the meaning attributed to these ODL experiences. Non-probability purposive sampling was used to select participants. In-depth unstructured interviews were conducted with eight participants. Data were analysed thematically using activities described by Kvale (2002:48).

The findings revealed that participants were aware of distance as a factor between themselves and the lecturer. The non-visibility of the lecturer was interpreted as a lack of support and guidance. Students in the clinical settings experienced a lack of recognition as intensive care student nurses compared to the support given to their counterparts doing the same course at residential institutions. As a result, the students' relationships with their preceptors amounted to requesting favours and exercising diplomacy in order to get assistance and guidance in the clinical situation.
The recommendations include that student support could be enhanced by the lecturer's physical visibility, even if implemented through the use of technology. The training of critical care student nurses should be done on request of specific clinical institutions; memoranda of agreement should be in place and accreditation processes should be completed before any student intakes occur. Effective monitoring and evaluation systems should be adhered to.

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