Self-centeredness or patient-centeredness–final year nursing students’ experiences of learning at a clinical education ward

Katri Manninen, Max Scheja, Elisabet Welin Henriksson, Charlotte Silén


Background: Different types of clinical education wards with the aim of facilitating transition from student to professional have been established giving students more autonomy and responsibility. Studies report positive effects but deeper understanding concerning how clinical education wards can contribute to learning for students nearing graduation is needed.

Aim: To explore final year nursing students’ experiences of learning when they are supported to take care of patients independently.

Methods: The context for this study was a clinical education ward for nursing students at a university hospital in Sweden. Individual and group interviews with 18 students of 29 eligible students were conducted after their clinical practice. The data was analyzed using qualitative content analysis with a focus on students’ experiences of their encounters with patients, supervisors, students and other professionals.

Results: The two main themes appeared as important aspects influencing final year students’ learning, uncertainty as a threshold and experiencing engagement. Sub-themes characterizing uncertainty as a threshold were self-centeredness and ambivalence describing the patient from the perspective of performing nursing tasks. Sub-themes characterizing experiencing engagement were creating mutual relationship and professional development. Caring for patients with extensive need for nursing care helped the students to become patient-centered and overcome the threshold, experience engagement and authenticity in learning the profession.

Conclusions: A clinical education ward may enhance the students’ experience of both external and internal authenticity enabling meaningful learning and professional development. It is important to acknowledge final year nursing students’ need for both challenges and support in the stressful transition from student to professional. Therefore, an explicit pedagogical framework based on patient-centered care and encouraging students to take responsibility should be used to help the students to overcome self-centeredness and to focus on the patients’ needs and nursing care.


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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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