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Health SA Gesondheid (Online)

On-line version ISSN 1025-9848

Abstract

CAKA, Ernestina M.  and  LEKALAKALA-MOKGELE, Sebi. The South African Military Nursing College Pupil Enrolled Nurses' experiences of the clinical learning environment. Health SA Gesondheid (Online) [online]. 2013, vol.18, n.1, pp. 1-11. ISSN 1025-9848.

The study focused on the clinical learning experiences of Pupil Enrolled Nurses (PENs) within the military health service. The purpose of the research was to explore and describe the learning experiences of PENs within the Military health clinical learning environment. An explorative, descriptive, contextual design which is qualitative in nature was used to guide the study. The military as a training institution prides itself on preparing nurses both as soldiers and nurses, this could be both challenging and exasperating for students, as the scopes are diverse. Being notably very hierarchical, the military's rules constantly take precedence over nursing rules. For the duration of nursing training, students are allocated in the clinical learning area to acquire competencies such as problem solving, cognitive and psychomotor skills (Kuiper & Pesut 2003:383). Students learn how to merge theory and practice and apply theories in the practical sense. This is however, not done in isolation from the military codes, as they are intertwined. Attendance of military parades and drills are incorporated during this phase. This could create missed opportunities from the clinical learning as students are expected to leave the clinical setting for this purpose. Three focus group sessions were conducted and the experiences of the students, as narrated by themselves, yielded valuable insights. The researcher wrote field notes and assisted with the management of the audio tapes for easy retrieval of information. Data was analysed by the researcher, independent of the cocoder. Two themes relating to the PENs' learning experiences emerged from the data analysed: (1) facilitators of clinical learning, (2) and barriers to clinical learning. The findings obtained depicted those factors which facilitated and obstructed student learning. These findings made it possible for the researcher to make recommendations concerning positive interventions which could be taken to enhance learning.

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