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Original Research

Experiences by student nurses during clinical placement in psychiatric units in a hospital

W.J.C. Van Rhyn, M.R. Gontsana

Curationis; Vol 27, No 4 (2004), 18-27. doi: 10.4102/curationis.v27i4.1014

Submitted: 28 September 2004
Published:  28 September 2004


An exploratory study was conducted with the aim of discovering and describing experiences of psychiatric nursing students during clinical placement in a psychiatric unit. For the purpose of the study an unstructured interview was conducted with each participant during their first placement in a psychiatric unit to identify the factors experienced as stressful. The results indicated that all eight participants experienced average to high stress. Sources of stress identified included, among others, ineffective teaching and learning programmes, poor managerial governance of the service, detachment of professional nurses from their teaching role, poor relationships among staff, overreliance on the medical model of care and patient neglect. Psychiatric nursing students sampled indicated universal support for in-service education and training for professional nurses, attitude change of professional nurses towards students, support for student initiatives, student involvement in patient care and adequate allocation of resources for patient care and nurse training. The exploration and description of experiences of the psychiatric nursing students will help nurse educators plan clinical learning opportunities in such a way that they are less stressful, thus ensuring that psychiatric nursing students are equipped to utilise themselves as therapeutic instruments.

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Author affiliations

W.J.C. Van Rhyn, School of Nursing, UFS, South Africa
M.R. Gontsana, School of Nursing, UFS, South Africa



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ISSN: 0379-8577 (print) | ISSN: 2223-6279 (online)

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