Undergraduate nursing students’ belongingness in clinical learning environments: Constructivist grounded theory

Allison Kern, Phyllis Montgomery, Sharolyn Mossey, Patricia Bailey


Background: Experiential learning within clinical practice settings is a substantial component of undergraduate nursing education. This study described baccalaureate nursing students’ perception of how their belongingness evolves in clinical learning environments through partnerships with their clinical educator and unit-based nurses.

Methods: The design of this study was constructivist grounded theory. The setting was a single four year baccalaureate nursing program located in Ontario, Canada. Eighteen students enrolled in third or fourth year of the program participated in a total of 22 semi-structured one-to-one interviews. Comparative methods were used to analyze the data.

Results: The students’ described positioning for belongingness, persevering for belongingness, and ultimately, entering into belongingness. Belongingness was depicted as gaining entry into the nursing “atmosphere”, a privileged space unique to each clinical placement. In this space, students were granted access to rich learning and socialization opportunities in alliance with the unit-based nurses. For students unable to secure belongingness, learning within the clinical setting occurred as outsiders, exterior to the nursing atmosphere.

Conclusion: Students described belongingness as possible when their demonstrated competencies were validated by others who had the capacity to optimize their professional socialization and development within the clinical setting.


Full Text:


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jnep.v4n3p133

Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

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

Copyright © Sciedu Press 
To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the 'Sciedupress.com' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.