The influence of placements on adult nursing graduates’ choice of first post
AffiliationUniversity of Bedfordshire
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AbstractBackground: This article presents findings from a study that sought to explore the extent to which clinical placements have an impact on nursing students’ decisions regarding their first staff nurse post. Within the UK, nursing is facing a recruitment crisis with particular difficulty recruiting to areas such as primary and elderly care. Transitioning into a new role is challenging in any occupation, but it is a particular problem in nursing where the realities of professional practice often differ from students’ perception of the staff nurse role as shaped by their clinical placements. Aim: This pilot study aimed to explore the influence of practice placements on final year adult nursing students’ career decisions. Method: Qualitative and quantitative data were collected in a single phase using a questionnaire distributed to nursing students on the final day of their course. A total of 35 completed questionnaires were returned (response rate 57%). Results: Half of the participants entered the course with preconceived preferences for clinical specialisms. However, only five participants (14%) applied for first destination posts in that specialism. The overall importance of placements in career choice increased across the three years of the programme. Although placements in all three years are important, the experiences in year 3 are pivotal, with 74% rankingthese as ‘significantly influential’ in their decision-making process. Analysis of the data obtained from the free-text responses from the questionnaire suggested that working environment; the level of support provided by mentors and clinical staff; the opportunity to make a difference to patients’ lives and the variety of placements, were key influences on nursing students’ decision regarding their first staff nurse post. Conclusions: This study highlights the key role of practice placements in the career choices of student nurses, particularly during the final year of their programme. It shows that students are likely to apply for posts in the placement area they found to be most supportive and developmental.
CitationWareing W, Taylor R, Wilson A, Sharples A (2017) 'The influence of placements on adult nursing graduates’ choice of first post', British Journal of Nursing, 26 (4), pp.228-233.
JournalBritish Journal of Nursing
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