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Nursing students’ perceptions regarding effective interventions used by nurse educators in assisting students to cope with anxiety during the clinical learning experience Burnstein, Cheryl Judith


Anxiety during the clinical learning experience is an ongoing challenge for nursing students during their education process. It has been demonstrated that nurse educators are poorly prepared to assist anxious students because of the paucity of research related to effective interventions that reduce student anxiety. The purpose of this study is to explore and describe nursing students' perceptions regarding effective interventions that nurse educators use in helping students cope with anxiety during the clinical learning experience. Lazarus and Folkman's (1984) transactional model of stress and coping was used to guide this study. An ethnographic design, using primarily interviewing for the purpose of data collection, was the research method used to conduct this study. The sample included six full-time nursing students from a diploma nursing program, and were recruited on a volunteer basis. Analysis of the data revealed that a significant amount of student anxiety related to personal feelings of inadequacy and lack of self-confidence, primarily due to their lack of knowledge and experience. Findings revealed that students perceived that they must perform perfectly, and they fear the instructor's presence because of the evaluative component associated with the instructor's role. Effective strategies used by nurse educators in helping students to cope with anxiety were directed primarily at developing a trusting relationship between teacher and student. When students perceived that they could trust instructors, they viewed instructors as more approachable and subsequently felt more comfortable to seek them out for help without fear of evaluation. The implications of the findings for nursing education and nursing research are discussed.

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