Supporting student nurses in practice with additional online communication tools
Nurse Education in Practice
Student nurses' potential isolation and difficulties of learning on placement have been well documented and, despite attempts to make placement learning more effective, evidence indicates the continuing schism between formal learning at university and situated learning on placement. First year student nurses, entering placement for the first time, are particularly vulnerable to the vagaries of practice. During 2012 two first year student nurse seminar groups (52 students) were voluntarily
... ted for a mixed method study to determine the usage of additional online communication support mechanisms (Facebook, wiki, an email group and traditional methods of support using individual email or phone) while undertaking their first five week clinical placement. The study explores the possibility of strengthening clinical learning and support by promoting the use of Web 2.0 support groups for student nurses. Results indicate a high level of interactivity in both peer and academic support in the use of Facebook and a high level of interactivity in one wiki group. Students' qualitative comments voice an appreciation of being able to access university and peer support whilst working individually on placement. Recommendations from the study challenge universities to use online communication tools already familiar to students to complement the support mechanisms that exist for practice learning. This is tempered by recognition of the responsibility of academics to ensure their students are aware of safe and effective online communication.