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Nursing degree students' clinical placement experiences in Australia: A survey design

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 14:04 authored by Luders, E, Cooper, S, Cant, R, Waters, D, Tower, M, Henderson, A, Hood, K, Willetts, G, Ryan, C, Kerry Reid-SearlKerry Reid-Searl

Aim: This study aimed to evaluate Australian nursing students' views of placements at seven tertiary education institutions with the use of the Placement Evaluation Tool (PET).

Background: Clinical placements are a core element of healthcare education programs around the world (Chuan and Barnett, 2012) with undergraduate nursing students required to complete a prescribed number of hours as part of their degree. The quality of nursing clinical placements varies with a range of positive and negative learning experiences.

Design: A survey design was used with a contemporary survey tool- the Placement Evaluation Tool (PET). Using Qualtrics software (Qualtrics, 2005) the on-line survey was distributed to approximately 6265 undergraduate nursing students at six Australian universities and one Technical and Further Education (TAFE) college where Bachelor of Nursing degree students were enrolled. Three Australian States were covered. Sites were selected where a project team member was employed.

Methods: A total of 1263 nursing students completed the Placement Evaluation Tool (PET) - 19 items (rated 1-5), one global rating (rated 1-10) - following placement in three Australian States (July 2019-February 2020). Most - 618 (48.9%) completed a placement in acute care with placements positively rated overall.

Results: The total PET mean score was 78.3% with 29.8% being 'extremely satisfied' (10 out of 10 - Item 20). However, 11.0% were dissatisfied with global ratings of four or less, whilst ratings between States differed significantly (p = <0.001). One third of respondents answered a free text statement relating to placement experiences, with significantly more comments from older students (p = <0.001) and from those with ratings in the lower range (p = <0.001). Three core themes emerged: 1. Staff Attitudes to Students, 2. Environment and 3. Lifestyle.

Conclusions: Whilst students' clinical experiences in Australia tend to be positive a minority reported exposure to negative staff attitudes, in unsafe environments, with lifestyle detriments. Further work is required to understand and enhance student experiences.


Publication title

Nurse Education in Practice



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School of Nursing


Elsevier Ltd.

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© 2021 Published by Elsevier Ltd

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