There is no doubt that all nurses especially those that come to study from abroad face a lot of challenges whilst studying. I have had the opportunity to work with both home and international nursing students and during our time of working together i remember chatting with them about all this challenges they face day in day out.
The first challenge that caught my attention is the issue of not been given a chance to prove their capability when working in a clinical setting. Nurses face the stigma of not being a qualified staff professional nurse whilst in a clinical setting. They are often referred to as ‘student’ or seen as not been qualified yet, which according to a student nurse William. A Birmingham children’s hospital can lead to a student having less confidence in themselves and discouragement from wanting to do more. It is very important that student are given a fair chance to prove that they are good and confident enough to carry out some duties using their own discretion rather than been seen as health care assistant.
Another challenge they face is the issue of having to work and study at the same time. As a student nurse, it can be very challenging to study and meet up with assignment deadline when you have to work as well. It is even more challenging for international students because work is very paramount as most of them are responsible for paying their school fees and upkeep whilst they are studying. In addition to keeping up with school assignment, it can be quite challenging to juggle classes, work and even social life whilst studying. student often get overwhelmed which can lead to stress and lead to them been less productive when working in a clinical environment. According to a friend who is currently studying for her masters degree at the university of Derby, she also mentioned that travel is another challenge that she finds very challenging whilst she is studying. Martins. F from university of Derby explained that because she lives in Birmingham, the amount of time it takes her to travel to/from the university can be very draining and also stressful. She explained further that she would have loved to get an apartment in Derby but she couldn’t because she needed to be around to look after her children.’ The first six months was extremely difficult but once i figured out how to prioritise my time it got more easier and both me and my family were able to live a stable life’.
Issues arising with mentor are also a challenge because it can have a negative effect on the amount of effort the student show whilst working in the clinical environment. Students will have a much better, happier and learning enabled clinical learning experience if they are included and treated with respect Some mentors are also not well organised and will try to rush the student through at the last minute. Some mentors due to shortage in staffing level at unit and wards will even try to allocate duties to student even though they know that they are not qualified to do that yet. And once the student refuses and remind them that they are only there to observe and not to actually do the work, it can cause friction and lead to the mentor keeping grudge with student which is not very healthy. A student needs to feel appreciated and not been put down all the time. When a student feels that their effort is always not good enough, they tend to withdraw and won’t give their maximum effort to their work because they will think that their effort will not count anyway.
Student Nurses are also faced with the challenge of been given too much work load whilst working in a clinical setting. Because they are often perceived as not experienced enough, they tend to send them on errand that are meant for the health care assistant. Students are given limited consideration with workload which reduces the time spent on teaching, mentoring, demonstrating and discussing their clinical experiences.
Support from qualified Nurses is another challenge that student nurses face whilst they study in a clinical environment. considering the level of qualified nurses and staff that are always available on wards and units, nursing student often feel unsupported and isolated because much attention and explanation are not been given as they ought to. This as a result can have a massive implication and in so doing can lead to student feeling less confident in taking a bold step in decision making when faced with a particular challenge. Communication amongst staff is also a challenge student face whilst studying. Because of the level of workload that nursing student are required to carry out, it is often not easy for them to have a proper one to one conversation with the staff and their mentor. They feel that not having effective communication with their mentor has an impact on the student’s ability to work collaboratively with fellow nurses, Care givers and other members of the health care team.
The above is just a few challenges that student nurses face whilst studying. But I strongly believe that if the nursing body is serious about ensuring quality clinical experience and training for all nursing student, then greater emphases and responsibility needs to be placed on the development of a more Collaborative mentorship and training programmes for student. They need to understand that student nurses need their help and support and should always look for ways to give them support to ensure that they have confident and can give a quality service back to the community once they are qualified.
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