In Australia, nursing and midwifery students are required to complete clinical placements as part of the educative process. Whilst each program is different, all are accredited by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council to meet, for example, the Nursing Standards which includes, “a minimum of 800 hours of quality professional experience placements completed by all students in a variety of settings, relevant to the curriculum”. However, what constitutes quality is unknown. Internationally, hours vary from the 800 in Australia, to 1,100-1,500 in New Zealand, 2,300 in the UK, and 2,800 in South Africa (Miller & Cooper, 2016). There appears to be no foundation or evidence for the number of hours allocated and it is clear that students are often exposed to negative (Jarvelainen, Cooper & Jones 2018) as well as positive experiences (Paliadelis & Wood, 2016). Further, whilst such ‘real world’ exposures are essential, concerns have been raised as to new nursing graduates’ clinical competence (Missen, McKenna, Beauchamp, 2016). As such, it is imperative to improve the quality of clinical placements in Australia, especially bearing in mind reducing placement hours and increasing costs to education institutions.
With these considerations in mind it is imperative that rigorous evaluation instruments and a centralised data repository are available that measure the quality of placement experience. This national benchmarking process will enable improvements at placement sites and enhanced educational opportunities.
To measure and enhance the quality of nursing and midwifery clinical placements through rigorous evaluation and quality improvement processes.
(2022 March- 2025 February)
- A review and development of interactive educational resources that aim to enhance the quality of clinical experiences (2022).
- In collaboration with the host team at HESA testing and refining the education management system to manage survey software and provide stakeholders with personalised data sets and generic anonymised reports for national benchmarking (first 9 months of 2022).
- Develop and maintain a quality improvement process that enables applicable and timely feedback to students and institutions leading to appropriate educational enhancement as required (2022-2025).