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Perspectives of Clinical Posting Experiences among Undergraduate Nursing Students in Nigeria

Perspectives of Clinical Posting Experiences among Undergraduate Nursing Students in University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus


Every year the Nursing Department post students to clinical institutions for them to enhance their competence in the profession, but complains are gotten from this institution as pertaining to the student’s behavior during the clinical experience. This study was carried out to determine the perspectives of clinical posting experiences among undergraduate nursing student in University of Nigeria, Enugu campus. Four objectives guided the study. A descriptive survey was used. Students in 500 level who met the inclusion criteria were used for the study. Questionnaire was the instrument for data collection. The instrument yielded a cronbach alpha reliability co-efficient of 0.87. The data were analyzed using frequency, percentages and mean. Major findings of the study include; Many of the students (66.7%) perceived that the timing of the clinical posting is late; (59.4%) The duration of the clinical posting as short; 60% of the nursing tasks provided to be inadequate for their acquiring the required skills; inadequacy of about 56% of the supervisory skills of their supervisors in the clinical posting areas; over 50% of the students perceive that over 83% of the activities in supervision were not carried out; and that their achievement in about 75% of the basic nursing task was poor. Thus the need for nursing department to adjust its curriculum in order that sufficient time is created for the clinical experiences and proper teaching of clinical supervisors.



Background to the Study

The educational process in practice professions is unique because the ability of the students to perform the activities of the profession in live situations as opposed to simply being able to express understanding of principles is a requisite competence at graduation (Shulman, 2005). This competence cannot be achieved in classroom learning alone, hence the need for clinical experience in clinical settings. In the practice profession of nursing, the clinical setting is where students are allowed to provide selected aspects of care for patients under the supervision of registered nurses who maintain final accountability for patient care. The teachers facilitate learning by working with students to demonstrate, correct and encourage appropriate nursing care. Students are expected to incorporate knowledge from each clinical experience into subsequent ones in which progression of nursing abilities is expected to be demonstrated. Through a series of these clinical experiences students learn to become nurses (Gaberson et al, 2007).

The clinical setting provides students with the opportunity to experience the complexity of the human interaction and response embedded in the nursing profession that is not possible in the classroom setting. Students are given opportunity to develop clinical judgment and utilize  knowledge in the contextual whole of the learning experience (Bevis & Watson, 1989). It gives students opportunity to observe and interact with nurses as they practice the act of nursing and serve as role models in various stages of development and nursing expertise. The emphasis in clinical experience is on the development of competencies of the professional person to become capable and practice in a manner that supports responsibility and accountability in a dynamic diverse society within complex health systems.

According to Reilly and Oermann (2007), the purpose of clinical experience in educational programme includes, assisting students in learning how to learn, dealing with ambiguity, and thinking like professionals and developing the commitment to accept personal responsibility for one’s own actions and behavior. Training institutions thus plan clinical experiences in other to assist students in learning. But it is the students that learn so whether they learn or benefit from these experiences will depend on the way they perceive the clinical experiences. Perception is the sensory experience of the world around us and  involves both the recognition of environmental stimuli and actions in response to these stimuli or  an individual’s awareness, understanding, insight or opinion about a thing or situation. Perception can  influence positively or negatively depending on the attitude, mood, cognitive structure and expectation of the perceiver or the appearance of  a  situation  to the perceiver. If  students perceive the clinical experiences as positive, they will be motivated to learn and the clinical experiences become beneficial. If on the other hand they perceive them as negative, the reverse will be the case.

Statement of Problems

Postings to health institutions for clinical experience is a component in the curriculum of department of nursing science in UNEC for the training of potential nurse professionals. The clinical experience is provided at the different levels beginning at the 300 level of study. The learning experiences at each level are selected to meet the needs at that level. The department selected the learning experiences and arranged them with the expectation that they will yield the desired result. However, reports from the clinical institution where students are posted for clinical experience showed that many of the students do not comply with the stipulations of the posting. There are cases of lateness, truancy and lack of interest in some of the ward activities. This kind of attitude does not promote learning and have detrimental effect of non-development of appropriate competencies for effective practice. The students are key players in the posting. They are the ones for which the learning experiences are selected and they are the ones that are expected to learn. How the students comply to the rules of the posting and learn depend on their perception of and interactions with the learning experiences. The researcher wonders how these students perceive the clinical postings and the learning experiences inherent in them. These issues motivated the study.

Purpose of Study

The purpose of this study is to investigate how the undergraduate nursing students of department of nursing UNEC perceive the clinical posting experiences.

Research Objectives

The objectives of this work include to:-

  • Determine how they perceive the timing and duration of clinical postings.
  • Find out how they perceive the learning experiences provided during the postings.
  • Find out how they perceive the supervision / guidance during the clinical postings.
  • Determine their perception of the achievements during the clinical postings.

Research Question

  1. What is the perception of undergraduate nursing students of the timing and duration of their clinical postings?
  2. What is their perception of the learning experiences provided during their clinical postings?
  3. How do they perceive the supervision /guidance during clinical postings?
  4. How do they perceive their achievement during the clinical postings?

Significance of Study

Findings from the study will show areas of problem in clinical experience of the students, this will help the department to develop and implement clinical postings that will motivate students to learn. When students learn, they become skilled and equipped to provide quality and safe care, that will satisfy consumers’ needs and expectations. The information gathered in this study will serve as a source of literature and guide for future researchers and as well serve as empirical reference for future studies.

Scope of Study

The study is delimited to determining students’ perception of the timing and duration of clinical postings, learning experiences, supervision / guidance during clinical postings and achievements during the clinical postings. It is also delimited to 500 level nursing students’ of department of Nursing Science, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus.

Operational definition

Perspectives of clinical posting experience: In this study implies, the ways in which the undergraduate students of the department of nursing, UNEC view their clinical postings in terms of the timing and duration of clinical posting, learning experiences provided during the postings, supervision / guidance provided during the clinical posting and the achievements at the end of the postings.

Perspective of timing and duration: in this study timing implies the students’ view of the period of the year or time within their programme the postings start i.e early or late or appropriate.

Duration implies the length of time spent during the clinical postings. i.e long or short or adequate

Perspective of learning experience: the students view of the opportunities or activities that were in place with which the students will interact to promote learning during the clinical posting. e.g. duties, shifts, nursing tasks, nature of clients / patients, assignments .e.t.c.

Perspective of supervision / guidance: the students’ view of those that supervise / guide them, that is their availability, qualification, regularity,  mode of supervision, their ability to listen,  observe, direct, teach, correct, and support the students.

Perspective of their achievement: the students’ view of the skills and competencies acquired during the experiences .e.g ability to assess vital signs, drug administration, suctioning, oxygen administration, last office. e.t.c.

—This article is incomplete———–This article is incomplete———— It was extracted from a well articulated quality Project, Research Work/Material

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