Enhancing undergraduate community placements: a critical review of current literature
MetadataShow full item record
Dickson, C., Morris, G. & Gable, C. (2015) Enhancing undergraduate community placements: a critical review of current literature, British Journal of Community Nursing, vol. 20, , pp. 184-189,
In the face of the UK-wide policy shift to increased home care, inspiring and enabling the next generation of community nurses is more urgent than ever. The quality of the pre-registration practice learning experience is highly influential on career choices at the point of qualification. Given that 50% of learning by pre-registration students takes place in practice, mentors have a crucial role to play in preparing the next generation of nurses to work in the community. This article discusses the findings of a systematic and critical literature review of pre-registration placements that was funded by the Queen's Nursing Institute Scotland. The review found that students' experiences of learning in community settings are variable, and perceptions of students and mentors are misaligned in terms of what a quality placement should look like. Although there is no clear definition of what constitutes a community placement and there is some underuse of learning environments in areas such as general practice nursing, there are also a number of examples of new and imaginative placements. While these innovations provide 'whole experience' placements, they are currently lacking robust evaluation, despite their potential usefulness on a larger scale. Mentors have the opportunity to provide students with a range of learning opportunities that increase preparedness for working in the community, allowing final year students in particular greater influence over their learning experience. Students undertaking community practice learning, where they have a managed level of autonomy, are more likely to feel confident to take on community nursing roles.