Preparation for high-acuity clinical placement: confidence levels of final-year nursing students
Joanne Porter, Julia Morphet, Karen Missen, Anita Raymond
School of Nursing and Midwifery, Monash University, Churchill, VIC, Australia
Aim: To measure final-year nursing students’ preparation for high-acuity placement with emphasis on clinical skill performance confidence.
Background: Self-confidence has been reported as being a key component for effective clinical performance, and confident students are more likely to be more effective nurses. Clinical skill performance is reported to be the most influential source of self-confidence. Student preparation and skill acquisition are therefore important aspects in ensuring students have successful clinical placements, especially in areas of high acuity. Curriculum development should aim to assist students with their theoretical and clinical preparedness for the clinical environment.
Method: A modified pretest/posttest survey design was used to measure the confidence of third-year undergraduate nursing students (n = 318) for placement into a high-acuity clinical setting. The survey comprised four questions related to clinical placement and prospect of participating in a cardiac arrest scenario, and confidence rating levels of skills related to practice in a high-acuity setting. Content and face validity were established by an expert panel (α = 0.90) and reliability was established by the pilot study in 2009. Comparisons were made between confidence levels at the beginning and end of semester.
Results: Student confidence to perform individual clinical skills increased over the semester; however their feelings of preparedness for high-acuity clinical placement decreased over the same time period. Reported confidence levels improved with further exposure to clinical placement.
Conclusion: There may be many external factors that influence students’ perceptions of confidence and preparedness for practice. Further research is recommended to identify causes of poor self-confidence in final-year nursing students.
Keywords: high acuity, clinical placement, confidence
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