JOURNAL ARTICLE

Coping with uncertainty within the preceptorship experience: the perceptions of nursing students

R Charleston, B Happell
Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing 2005, 12 (3): 303-9
15876237
A substantial amount of time and resources are channelled into supporting clinical practicum in nursing education programmes. Attention is targeted at the most effective models to achieve this aim. The provision of sound support models regardless of specific clinical setting is recognized as integral to student development and transition periods throughout nurses' careers. Within the mental health setting, this situation is compounded by the negative attitudes nursing students tend to hold towards people experiencing a mental illness. Preceptorship has been widely used both nationally and internationally for clinical practicum. Although this model seems to have been endorsed by virtue of its increasing use, additional examination is necessary to assess efficacy and effectiveness across clinical practicum, including those in mental health settings. In utilizing a grounded theory approach, this study addresses the question: what is the experience of preceptorship for undergraduate nursing students in the mental health setting? The major themes identified include: 'fear of the unknown', 'reconciling difference between general acute health and mental health settings' and 'supporting practice'.

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