5 Challenges Nursing Students Face In A Clinical Learning Environment

Nursing has always been a respectable profession where you can use your skills to save human lives, making it a popular choice as a major among students. In this discipline, you have to experience a mixture of theoretical and practical learning styles to absorb the knowledge, skills, and training you require to become a proficient nurse. Let’s see the challenges nursing students face in a clinical learning environment.

What Is A Clinical Learning Environment?

The practical experience of a nursing student helps them to develop the right attitude and prepares them for the future. As most of these experiences occur in a clinical environment, it is a crucial part of the nursing program.

Professional nurses assist the nursing students with hands-on training. This helps them improve their practical skills in a clinical learning environment. In addition, as nursing is a performance-based profession, such experiences help the students apply their theoretical knowledge in various situations related to patient care.

Many factors influence such a clinical learning environment, such as:

  • Physical space
  • Psychological factors
  • Organisational factors
  • Teaching and learning experience

The practical experience of a clinical learning environment is much complicated than the theoretical learning experience. Thus, it comes as no surprise that there are plenty of challenges nursing students face when it comes to this particular area.

While you can solve the theoretical challenges with some nursing assignment help, no professional can assist you in a clinical learning environment.

What Challenges Do Nursing Students Face In A Clinical Learning Environment?

A student thrives when they receive a positive learning experience. In an ideal clinical learning environment, you can expect to receive the best of what the experience has to offer. However, such is not the case at all times. Let’s look at what factors can pose a challenge in a clinical learning environment for nursing students.

  1. Incompatibility with the instructors

The best learning environment occurs when there is a perfect understanding and mutual respect between the instructors and students. A clinical learning atmosphere where the student feels intimidated or inadequate because of their instructor is not ideal.

According to a study, 11.9% of college students show signs of anxiety disorder. This percentage is pretty concerning, especially when such anxiety can stem from the fear of disappointing the instructor. For example, one student says, “Every time I made a mistake, the instructor would reprimand me in front of the other students. It shattered my confidence, especially when he never trusted me with anything important again.”

Such experiences can dampen the entire clinical learning atmosphere and make things awkward for both the reprimanded student and those around them.

  1. Insufficient knowledge in some areas
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Nursing is a profession where a single error can lead to fatal consequences. While students don’t realise this entirely in their theoretical classes, the clinical learning environments are the perfect opportunity to get a taste of reality.

In class, if you forget the properties of a medicine, you can always look it up again from the books. When you can’t find the information, you can hire professional nursing study help services. However, in the clinical learning environment, you have no such option as a backup.

When you’re in the field, the patient, their friends, and relatives will look to you for guidance. If you fumble or feel unsure about the proper treatment, your patient will lose faith in you immediately.

Mary Ann, a nursing student in an esteemed university in the UK, recounts her experience- “My patient was running a high fever and thrashing about in bed. I tried to run all his symptoms in my head, connect them to the possible solutions, but I couldn’t recall anything. It was horrible….”

  1. Poor communication skills

Nurses need to develop their communication skills when dealing with patients, most of whom are scared or worried out of their minds. Hence tactfulness is a quality that you learn when you’re in the practical field.

Some students recount how their lack of tact landed them in trouble with both patients and instructors. For example, Susan Lee says, “I noticed that a patient was limping slightly and asked her if she has any issues with her leg. She got offended, and my instructor scolded me later for being so direct in my approach.”

Joseph Hans, a nurse at one of the biggest hospitals in the UK, recounts his nursing student days. “There was a time where I didn’t agree to my instructor’s way of handling a patient. When I told him that his method was not effective, I got the scolding of a lifetime for talking like this in front of the patient.”

  1. Discrimination

Despite modern society trying its best to curb discrimination based on race, skin colour, and ethnicity, YMCA’s Young and Black Report shows that almost 95% of black students have experienced racism in their educational institutions.

Unfortunately, such blatant discrimination is something that nursing students of colour face sometimes, albeit not very frequently. However, the most frequent discrimination comes from the nurses towards all students, regardless of race or skin colour.

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Most students have complained how the nurses would talk rudely and refuse to offer any help during their clinical learning experience. Moreover, they’d sneer and laugh behind the student’s backs due to their inexperience. Such incidents can be pretty challenging, and the only solution is to voice your complaints to ensure no such repetition of such incidents happens again.

  1. Stressful environment

A vast majority of students suffer from stress in a clinical learning environment. This is more common for students who have a fear of adapting to changes in their surroundings. In addition, a practical experience can be stressful due to the responsibilities that you have to shoulder, and the fear of messing up can be detrimental to your learning experience.

Brian Rivers, a nursing intern, says, “I remember one time when my instructor gave me the responsibility of one patient…every night I would have to monitor his condition and administer the right medicine. It was going alright until his condition worsened one night, and I almost had a panic attack trying to figure out what to do.”

A little stress is good to keep you on your toes and avoid making any mistakes. However, such intense negative feelings can be challenging in your journey as a nursing student.

  1. Feelings of inadequacy

Nursing students who suffer from inferiority complex find it challenging to gather confidence in their work. Yet, for any nurse, self-confidence is a vital quality. Without it, you cannot expect patients to trust you with their lives.

In many students, this feeling of inadequacy rises from poor academic performance. In others, it is due to the sense of intimidation from their surroundings.

As Sylvia Jones says, “There was a time I had to administer an injection to a patient. It was my first time, and I could feel everyone’s eyes on me. I got so nervous and scared that my hands were shaking badly, and the patient refused to let me near her.”

To sum it up,

A nursing student has to surpass many challenges in their journey to become a professional nurse. One such hurdle is the clinical learning stage that can bring out new sides of nursing students. For example, a confident student in theoretical classes might be overwhelmed and nervous about handling the practical environment.

Identifying the challenges nursing students face is crucial to come up with counter-measures and provide a better learning experience so they don’t have to face them again.

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