UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Clinical nursing instructors' experiences teaching students deemed at risk of failure MacLeod, Stefanie


The experience of the clinical nursing instructor (CNI) in teaching nursing students deemed at risk of failure has not been well explored in nursing literature. It may be difficult for the CNI to support as well as evaluate a student when that student’s performance is judged to be unsatisfactory or unsuccessful. The purpose of this study was to explore CNIs’ experiences in teaching undergraduate nursing students deemed at risk of failure, to discover how CNIs identify potentially unsuccessful students and to describe what supports and resources CNIs utilize to help them manage such students. A pilot study using a qualitative phenomenological approach was used to interview CNIs who had at least one experience teaching an undergraduate nursing student deemed at risk of failure at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) schools of nursing. The study found that CNIs identified students at risk of failure using “red flags” that included a range of actions, behaviours, and attitudes. These red flags included deficits in the demonstrated thinking, knowledge, and skills; deficits in the social and cultural aspects of nursing practice; disorganization and tardiness; and lack of integrity. CNIs felt that early and clear communication of their concerns with faculty and students deemed at risk of failure was beneficial for both the student and CNI. CNIs made decisions to fail students by considering patient safety and objective evidence while at the same time supporting and nurturing these students by providing opportunities for success.

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