An Evaluation of Clinical Education within a Rural Undergraduate Nursing Curriculum: Insights into the Clinical Facilitation Model

Tuesday, 13 July 2010: 8:30 AM

Jackie Lea, RN, BN, MNurs(Hons)
Helena Sanderson, RN, BN, MN
School of Health, University of New England, Armidale, Australia

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to gain an insight into the experience of the facilitation model of clinical learning from clinical facilitator's and students perspective.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to describe strategies for improving student clinical learning within the facilitation model of clinical education.


This paper presents the findings of a research project conducted at a rural University, in Australia, that explored and analysed the Clinical Facilitation Model of clinical education. This study aimed to identify and determine barriers to the provision of effective clinical learning during facilitated clinical placements by exploring the experience and perceptions of nursing students and clinical facilitators. The study also aimed to develop strategies to improve quality within this model of clinical education to meet student, health service and education provider needs. 



This qualitative study used a hermeneutical-phenomenological design. Individual face-to-face interviews and focus group discussions with students and clinical facilitators were conducted. The data was analysed using thematic analysis and several major themes emerged representing important barriers to effective clinical learning during facilitated clinical experience.


The findings from this study identify the role of the Clinical Facilitator as one that is demanding and challenging and perceptions of the role were not consistent. The ward culture, student and health service expectations were identified as contributing to the ability tof Clinical facilitators to perform their role effectively. Students identified aspects of the model that were most effective in meeting their learning needs, however this was influenced by the personal traits of the Clinical Facilitator and the students individual understanding of the facilitators role.


This study adds significantly to the small body of knowledge that currently exists in Australia and internationally regarding the challenges of providing a model of clinical education that is cost effective and more importantly meets the learning needs of students.  The findings from this study will inform undergraduate clinical curricula, and will inform the planning for and implementation of, a model of clinical education that meets the needs of the student, Clinical Facilitator, health service and education providers.