Aim: The aim of the study was to explore the empowerment of nursing students in clinical practice. This paper focuses on 'being valued' as an important element of empowerment.
Background: Empowerment of nursing students is necessary in order for them to foster a sense of control and self-efficacy for those in their care. However, there is very little research on how to empower nursing students. Moreover, there is limited literature that specifically addresses the importance of students being valued in clinical practice.
Methods: Thirteen, first-year nursing students were recruited using purposive sampling. Data were generated through the means of in-depth, semi-structured interviews. Hermeneutic phenomenology was chosen as the underpinning philosophical approach because of its emphasis on actual experiences.
Findings: Being valued as a learner, being valued as a team member and being valued as a person are important factors in the empowerment of nursing students in clinical practice. These invariant themes are evident either implicitly or explicitly in the experiences of most students.
Discussion: When nursing students are valued as learners, team members and people, they feel empowered. Too often however, they experience disempowerment as a result of feeling devalued. This has a detrimental impact on their learning and intention to continue on the programme. According to the accounts of many nursing students effective mentorship and a supportive environment are factors that influence empowerment significantly.
Conclusions: Strategies to promote the empowerment of nursing students in clinical practice need to address their sense of value. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
- Clinical practice
- Hermeneutic phenomenology
- Nursing students