This study examines the associations between professional behaviors of baccalaureate nursing students and student perceptions of select factors within the clinical learning environment, including the role of clinical faculty leadership. Participants (n=243) were recruited from a randomly selected list of 1000 members of the National Student Nurses Association (NSNA) among sixteen states within the Southern region of the United States. Results revealed a direct relationship exists between student perceptions of structural empowerment in their clinical learning environment and professional nursing practice behaviors among students. Also found was that relationships between variables in the model are significantly strengthened by student perceptions of strong leadership behaviors of clinical faculty. Findings from this study may assist nurse educators by contributing knowledge relevant to support/facilitate the transition of individuals from student nurses to professional registered nurses and, thus enhance the impact of professional nurses' contributions in healthcare delivery.
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