Evaluating the Student Clinical Learning Environment

3698 words 15 pages

According to Dunn and Burnett1, the student learning environment consists of all the conditions and forces within an educational setting that impact learning. Shuell2 visualized the student learning environment as a rich psychological soup comprised of cognitive, social, cultural, affective, emotional, motivational and curricular factors, in which teachers and students work together toward learning. Without the correct environmental ingredients, it is very difficult to achieve a satisfactory learning product.

Student learning at the primary and secondary educational levels generally takes place in the traditional classroom environment. In contrast, at the post secondary level, students experience an increasing number of
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However, they did not identify specific criteria within these categories that should be addressed in such an assessment. Reilly and Oermann15 proposed clinical agency evaluation criteria for use by nursing faculty, including factors of flexibility of the learning environment, appropriateness of client population and adequate client numbers, range of learning opportunities, current care practices at the agency, availability of records, student orientation, and resource/space availability.

More recently, a few researchers have begun to investigate student perceptions of the clinical learning environment. Peirce16 developed an open-ended questionnaire to investigate 44 preceptored students’ perceptions of their clinical experience. Data were analyzed for themes, resulting in the categories of school/faculty factors, clinical site organizational and personnel factors, and student factors.

17Farrell, G. A. & Coombes, L. (1994). Student nurse appraisal of placement (SNAP): an attempt to provide objective measures of the learning environment based on qualitative and quantitative evaluations. Nursing Education Today 14, 331-336.


A review of the literature revealed only two recent studies aimed at developing and/or testing an instrument to evaluate


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