Time, fear and transformation: Student nurses' experiences of doing a practicum (quality improvement project) in practice



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.

Background  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.  Methods  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).  Results  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.  Conclusions   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.

Quality improvement; Curriculum; Change; Practice learning; Clinical placement; Qualitative interviews; Thematic analysis

Nurse Education in Practice: Volume 19

Publication date31/07/2016
Publication date online14/05/2016
Date accepted by journal12/05/2016

People (4)


Mrs Lorraine Armstrong
Mrs Lorraine Armstrong

Lecturer in Nursing, Health Sciences Stirling

Dr Michelle Beattie
Dr Michelle Beattie

Lecturer, Health Sciences (Highland & W.Isles)

Professor Ashley Shepherd
Professor Ashley Shepherd

Professor, Health Sciences Stirling

Dr Joyce Wilkinson
Dr Joyce Wilkinson

Lecturer, Health Sciences Stirling