Citation James B, Beattie M, Shepherd A, Armstrong L & Wilkinson JE (2016) Time, fear and transformation: Student nurses' experiences of doing a practicum (quality improvement project) in practice, Nurse Education in Practice, 19, pp. 70-78.
Improving and sustaining quality in healthcare continues to be a global challenge, resulting in the necessity of developing quality improvement (QI) skills and knowledge to use in practice. This paper reports student nurses' experiences of conducting a quality improvement project (Practicum) as a compulsory assessment whilst on clinical placement areas across Scotland.
Telephone and face-to-face interviews (n=18) were conducted using a semi-structured interview schedule. Discussions were transcribed verbatim and data were analysed thematically. Data were extracted from Practicum assignments (n=50).
Three key themes emerged from the analysis: 1) Time; students highlighted the necessity of time in practice areas to acclimatise, socialise and conduct the Practicum. Timing of the Practicum within the curriculum was also important. 2) Fear; was experienced by many students at the perceived enormity of the assignment, the bravery needed to attempt to change practice and the adjustment to a unique type of assignment. 3) Transformation; students shared their shifted perceptions on completing a Practicum, including a sense of achievement and acknowledgement of key improvement skills for the future.
Student nurses need to be stretched beyond their comfort zones to rise to the challenge of the Practicum, whilst ensuring adequate support mechanisms are in place from a range of sources.