Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

The Lived Experience of Nurses Working with Student Nurses in the Clinical Environment

Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

The Lived Experience of Nurses Working with Student Nurses in the Clinical Environment

Article excerpt

Introduction

Addressing the negative attitudes of nurses is important because the problem of resolving the nursing shortage is compounded by the negative effects these negative attitudes have on nursing education. Wells (2003) stated that inability to retain students in nursing programs negatively impacts the supply of registered nurses to meet the demands of the nursing shortage. Research of nursing students revealed that negative attitudes and behaviors of nurses impede learning (Lofmark & Wikblad, 2001) and threaten student progression and retention within nursing programs (Chan, 2002). Furthermore, if student nurses do not identify with the nursing profession, they will eventually leave (Li, 1997). Nurses need to stop eating their young and help prepare a strong, competent workforce for the future. After all, a component of professionalism is to mentor those seeking to enter the profession. The student nurses' socialization into the profession is dependent upon acceptance and approval by staff nurses, who have the greatest influence on the development of the student nurses' professional role (Hardy & Conway, 1988). The purpose of this study was to gain a personal understanding of "what" kinds of attitudes nurses have toward student nurses, and "how" nurses develop negative attitudes toward student nurses.

Researcher's Phenomenological Lens

Moustakas (1994) describes the researcher as an instrument who collects and interprets data about the phenomenon from a particular phenomenological lens. The phenomenological lens informs the reader of the researcher's perspective because interpretation from different researchers may vary. The phenomenological lens in this study is derived from my personal perspective, and is based on experience in teaching clinical nursing courses.

I, Donna have been a nurse educator for 18 years and have worked in three baccalaureate nursing programs within the Southeastern region of the United States. My basic nursing education is a baccalaureate degree, and I have been a licensed nurse for 30 years with practice experience in acute adult care, labor and delivery, postpartum, nursery, and pediatrics. I earned a Master's degree in maternal-child nursing education, and a PhD in human resource education and workforce development with a focus on adult education. My experiences in clinical teaching include maternal-child, perioperative, community, and psychiatric nursing. During my teaching career I have taught clinical courses in various levels of the nursing program from beginning students to graduating seniors. I have also taught clinical nursing courses in various clinical facilities that include private and public, profit and not for profit clinical sites.

After many years of teaching nursing I have dealt with nurses who dislike working with student nurses and display negative attitudes toward student nurses during clinical practice rotations. I have personally experienced the frustration that occurs as a result of nurses who make it difficult for student nurses to participate in direct patient care and meet clinical objectives. Students have complained about certain nursing staff, and stated they did not feel welcomed on the nursing unit. Some of the more common negative behaviors include being overly critical, making rude condescending remarks, refusing to work with students, ignoring students, and not giving patient reports.

My colleagues have also expressed frustration that occurs from dealing with nurses who have negative attitudes toward student nurses. Usually when I encounter a nurse with a negative attitude, I try to manipulate the student patient care assignment in an attempt to avoid the nurse. However, unit staffing and patient census may not permit the avoidance tactic. When avoidance seemed impossible, I confronted the nurse. If that didn't work, I reported the behavior to the nursing supervisor, despite the risk of worsening the problem. …

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