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Sources of Stress among Undergraduate Nursing Students during Clinical Practice: A Malawian Perspective

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DOI: 10.4236/ojn.2019.91001    337 Downloads   741 Views


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore undergraduate nursing students’ perceptions of their clinical learning experience, and the reported findings emerged from narratives of their experience. Design: This was a hermeneutic phenomenological study which took place at a university nursing college in Malawi. Participants for the study were purposively selected from third- and fourth-year undergraduate nursing students and the data were collected through in-depth interviews. A framework developed by modifying Colaizzi’s procedural steps guided the phenomenological analysis. Findings: The study reveals factors which cause stress among undergraduate nursing students during their clinical practice. The following themes emerged from the study: lecturer/nurse interaction with students: stress associated with patient care and stress associated with objective structured clinical examination (OSCE). The lecturer is perceived to significantly induce stress, and this is common when the student perceives that the lecturer’s interaction is in a “policing” manner. The primary stressors associated with patient care include lack of life-saving medication which sometimes leads to death of a patient, taking care of critically ill patients unsupervised, and fear of contracting infections such as HIV and tuberculosis, and death of a patient. Factors associated with stress during OSCE include use of examiners whom students are not familiar with and the conduct of OSCE in the skills lab which has better resources than the clinical settings where students practice. Conclusions: The study reveals sources of stress during nursing students’ clinical practice and its effects on their learning and motivation. Consistent with existing literature, these findings confirm that nursing students experience considerable levels of stress during clinical practice. Recommendations: The study suggests that nursing education can be quite a stressful experience to the learners. It is therefore essential that nurse educators should address the various sources of stress which the study has revealed to enhance students’ clinical learning and provide the student nurses with the needed care.

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Msiska, G. , Kamanga, M. , Chilemba, E. , Msosa, A. and Munkhondya, T. (2019) Sources of Stress among Undergraduate Nursing Students during Clinical Practice: A Malawian Perspective. Open Journal of Nursing, 9, 1-13. doi: 10.4236/ojn.2019.91001.

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