Learning in clinical practice: the importance of peers

Roberts, D 2007, 'Learning in clinical practice: the importance of peers' , Nursing Standard, 23 (12) , pp. 35-41.

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Aim To explore whether nursing students learn from each other and, if so, how, when and where this learning takes place. Method An interpretive ethnographic qualitative research study of a group of pre-registration nursing students (n=15). Participant observation was the primary tool of data collection. Students gave their consent to be observed in classroom and clinical environments throughout the three years of the pre-registration programme. Data took the form of audio-taped conversations with and between students together with field notes. A thematic analysis was undertaken to reveal the student experience of peer learning. Findings The importance of friendships to clinical learning for students was apparent in three respects: friendships and learning in clinical practice, survival skills and developing clinical skills. The students talked about their friendships being strong and enduring and enabling learning to take place. The students used their peers as a resource to pass on survival skills and help each other to learn how to be a nurse. Students also taught each other a variety of clinical skills. Traditional notions of seniority were challenged because the students appeared more concerned with what their peers had experienced. Conclusion Friendships were an important aspect of peer learning for the students in this study and, more importantly, friendship fostered learning. Peer learning in clinical practice is an informal and underestimated aspect of clinical learning and is valued by students.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Subjects / Themes > R Medicine > RT Nursing
Health and Wellbeing
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society > Centre for Applied Research in Health, Welfare and Policy
Schools > School of Health and Society
Journal or Publication Title: Nursing Standard
Publisher: Royal College of Nursing Publishing (RCNi)
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0029-6570
Depositing User: Institutional Repository
Date Deposited: 10 May 2011 15:38
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 11:16
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/13970

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