Place(ment) matters: students' clinical experiences and their preferences for first employers
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BACKGROUND: Although a significant volume of nursing research has focused on students' experiences of clinical placements, to date, none has considered these experiences in the context of workforce recruitment and specifically how they may impact upon preferences for working for health care providers. METHODS: In this context, the research used a place-sensitive geographical perspective and a combined questionnaire (n = 650), interview (n = 30) and focus group (n = 7) method to collect data on the complex range of clinical experiences which together impact upon the perceived attractiveness of different health care settings. FINDINGS: The data identified a range of experiential factors associated with mentorship, ward management, learning opportunities and racism. An important finding was that although students' experiences are obtained at the micro ward level, even if they may not necessarily reflect what happens throughout the hospital, they potentially impact, both positively and negatively, upon their broader perceptions of the hospital and the likelihood of seeking work there. IMPLICATIONS: The study highlighted a variety of issues that should be addressed by both higher education institutions and hospitals so that they may be able to provide a more consistent and positive experience for students. In the longer term, this may pay dividends through increased recruitment of new graduates.
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