L. S. Hlahla, C. Ngoatle, M. N. Kgatla, E. M. Mathapo-Thobakgale

Challenges Faced by University of Limpopo Learner Nurses during Psychiatry Clinical Exposure: A Qualitative Study

  • General Nursing

Clinical exposure of learner nurses to psychiatric hospitals is a requirement by the South African Nursing Council. Clinical experience helps learner nurses build cognitive and affective skills, cultural acculturation, and professional identity. The clinical placement also aids nursing learner nurses in making decisions regarding future career paths. The goal of psychiatric nursing practice is to enhance mental and physical health and improve the patient’s quality of life and rehabilitation. A qualitative research approach was followed, and a descriptive, explorative, and contextual design was used in this study to explore the challenges faced by University of Limpopo learner nurses during psychiatry clinical exposure. The population included learner nurses from level two to level four who registered for psychiatric nursing science practice. Convenience sampling was adopted. Semi-structured interviews were used to collect data, and the data were analyzed using the Tesch open coding method. Measures to ensure trustworthiness were adhered to, and ethical considerations were observed. The findings of this study indicated that learner nurses go through challenges and discomfort in the form of mental health care users, clinical environment matters, and the attitude of clinical staff in the hospital. Proper preparation of the learner nurses and clinical areas can assist in reducing the challenges that learner nurses go through.

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