La Trobe

File(s) under permanent embargo

The impact of clinical placement model on learning in nursing: A descriptive exploratory study

journal contribution
posted on 2021-03-03, 02:55 authored by M Birks, T Bagley, T Park, C Burkot, Jane MillsJane Mills
© 2017, Australian Nursing Federation. All rights reserved. Background Learning in the clinical setting is an essential component of nursing education. Two common models of clinical learning place students in facilities using either block or distributed approaches. Aim The aim of this study was to examine nursing students’ perceptions of the impact of block versus distributed model of clinical placement on their learning experience. Design The study employed a descriptive, exploratory approach. Focus groups and an individual interview were conducted with third-year undergraduate nursing students. Setting Students from four Australian universities took part in the study. Subjects The average age of the 22 student participants was 37.5 years and 91% were female. More than half (55%) studied full time. Results Thematic analysis of the data identified five overarching themes: We’re there to learn; Taking all that knowledge out and practising it; You actually feel a part of the team; Just prepare them for us coming; and It’s really individual. Conclusions It is clear that both block and distributed modes of placement have inherent advantages and disadvantages that might be magnified depending on the individual student’s circumstances. Sequencing, consistency and preparation must be considered when planning either mode of clinical placement to ensure the best possible experience for students. Most significantly, students need to feel as though they are part of the team while on placement to get the most out of the experience. These findings have implications for education providers planning the integration of clinical placement into the nursing curriculum.


The authors of this paper wish to acknowledge the assistance of the Queensland Regional Training Network Clinical Supervision and Support Program for the financial support provided for this project.


Publication Date



Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing






(p. 16-23)





Rights Statement

The Author reserves all moral rights over the deposited text and must be credited if any re-use occurs. Documents deposited in OPAL are the Open Access versions of outputs published elsewhere. Changes resulting from the publishing process may therefore not be reflected in this document. The final published version may be obtained via the publisher’s DOI. Please note that additional copyright and access restrictions may apply to the published version.