Supporting rural/remote primary health care placement experiences increases undergraduate nurse confidence

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Bennett, P, Jones, D, Brown, J & Barlow, V 2013, 'Supporting rural/remote primary health care placement experiences increases undergraduate nurse confidence', Nurse Education Today, vol. 33, no. 2, pp. 166-172.

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This paper reports on the analysis of data from undergraduate nursing students who participated in the Primary Health Care Intensive Programme (PHCIP) in far west New South Wales between 2006 and 2008. This analysis looks specifically at pre/post confidence levels of participants in relation to their grasp of underlying principles associated with primary health care practice and Indigenous health care delivery. Bachelor of nursing curricula remains heavily weighted towards acute care in large metropolitan facilities however; universities actively seek clinical fieldwork experiences in rural/remote and Indigenous communities for their students. The PHCIP was developed and delivered through the Broken Hill University Department of Rural Health, University of Sydney, and sought to address the disparity in student preparedness for practice in these settings through the provision of a structured and educational rural and remote clinical placement experience. Pre/post questionnaires, focus groups and three month post-placement phone interviews provided data on levels of participant confidence in the areas of primary health care delivery and culturally knowledgeable practice. This study indicates that structured preparation for practice, underpinned by authentic learning experiences and aligned with comprehensive education programmes can have a positive impact in the areas of skills, knowledge and attitudes and enhance the confidence of undergraduate nurses undertaking clinical placements in these settings. These findings are relevant to contemporary nursing education and evolving models of health care delivery for rural and remote communities.

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