As a practice-based discipline a key component of undergraduate nurse education is clinical practice experience. The quality of clinical experiences has a significant impact on the students' ability to function competently post graduation. The relationship between higher education institutions (HEIs) and health service placement providers impacts upon the quality of clinical placements. In Australia, the growth of primary care nursing and the shortage of acute clinical places has prompted HEIs to explore the placement of students in general practice. Given the increasing attention being paid to non-traditional clinical placements, it is timely to explore how universities are establishing relationships and models of clinical placement. This paper uses qualitative research methods to explore the perspectives of 12 Australian general practice nurses who have experience in facilitating undergraduate clinical placements about the relationships between HEIs and nurses. Findings are presented in the following three themes: (1) Appropriate preparation for placement: They don't know what primary health really means, (2) Seeking greater consultation in the organisation of clinical placements: they've got to do it one way for everyone, and (3) Uncertainty and lack of support: I had no contact with the university. Clinical placements in general practice can be an innovative strategy providing non-traditional, yet high quality, teaching and learning experiences for undergraduate nursing students. To optimise the quality of these placements, however, it is essential that HEIs provide appropriate support to the practice nurses mentoring these students.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/susan_mcinnes/3/