Views on Unsafe Nursing Students in Clinical Learning

Clinical education is a cornerstone of undergraduate nursing education programs. Although protecting patient safety in clinical learning experiences is a standard of practice, no standard definition of the “unsafe” student exists. The purpose of this study was to describe the viewpoints of undergraduate student nurses and their clinical educators about unsafe clinical student practices. Using Q methodology, 57 students and 14 clinical educators sorted 39 unsafe student practice statements. These statements were generated from an integrated review of nursing and related literature and two undergraduate student focus groups. The use of centroid factor analysis with varimax rotation produced three dimensions of unsafe student practices. An unsafe student was characterized by his/her Compromised Professional Accountability, Incomplete Praxis, and Clinical Disengagement. A shared attribute among these three features was violated professional integrity. While students’ affective, cognitive, and praxis competencies were priority elements in the conceptualization of unsafe student practice, this study also identified the salient role of educators as active participants in preparation of safe practitioners.

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The International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship (IJNES) publishes significant research and scholarship in the broad field of nursing education. The mandate of the journal is to present high quality papers to advance nursing education through research, description of innovative methods, or introduction of novel approaches about all aspects of nursing education in a timely manner.

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