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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Unsafe student nurse behaviours : the perspectives of expert clinical nurse educators Karlstrom, Monique Roxanne


Background: Clinical evaluation of undergraduate nursing students is one of the most challenging aspects of baccalaureate nursing education, especially for novice nurse educators. Early identification of unsafe student behaviours is necessary to ensure students obtain adequate support and guidance. The degree to which clinical nurse educators are certain about what is safe and unsafe varies, and greatly influences their decisions about patient assignments and evaluative processes. Purpose: The purpose of this study was two-fold. First, to gain consensus from a panel of nurse educator experts on particular student nurse behaviours that represent unsafe clinical practices. Second, to provide a hierarchy of the unsafe behaviours, from the perspective of expert clinical nurse educators. Method: Using the Delphi technique, a series of four online surveys were administered to a panel of sixteen expert clinical nurse educators. The four surveys were: exploratory (open-ended questions), evaluative (responses to Likert statements with level of agreement), reconsidering (revising or confirming), and ranking. Results: Thirty eight unsafe student behaviours with respect to patients and seventeen unsafe behaviours with respect to others reached 80% or more consensus as being very unsafe. Two cultural themes emerged from a cognitive perspective: honesty (value) and knowledge (expectation). Expert clinical nurse educators, above all else, value honesty in their interactions with undergraduate nursing students. They also expect student nurses to possess a certain amount of theoretical knowledge prior to arrival in the clinical setting. Two cultural themes emerged from a behaviorist perspective: control (value) and scrupulousness and precision (expectation). Expert clinical nurse educators value control in the clinical teaching/learning environment. They also expect scrupulousness and precision in the clinical setting and in the students’ personal lives.

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