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A medical play experience: Preparing undergraduate nursing students for clinical practice
journal contributionposted on 01.09.2021, 02:33 by Kerry Reid-SearlKerry Reid-Searl, Kate H Crowley, Carina AndersonCarina Anderson, Nicole M Blunt, Rachelle ColeRachelle Cole, Dayani Suraweera
Background: Undergraduate nursing programs are required to prepare nursing students to care for people across the lifespan, however due to limited paediatric nursing content in undergraduate nursing curricula and limited paediatric clinical placements, nursing graduates may lack competence and experience in caring for children. Objectives: The aim of this study was to enhance undergraduate nursing students' work readiness and confidence to care for children by immersing them in a mock paediatric ward experience where students could practice using medical play to communicate and engage with children. Participants: Participants (n = 22) were undergraduate nursing students recruited across all years from a Bachelor of Nursing program. Design: Participants were involved in a mock paediatric hospital experience providing them the opportunity to engage with children from 2 to 8 years. Methods: A mixed methods approach was used. Participants completed a confidence scale questionnaire pre and post the mock paediatric ward experience and a satisfaction scale post the experience. Inductive thematic analysis was used to analyse qualitative data. Quantitative data was analysed using the Wilcoxon Signed-Ranked Test. Results: Findings indicated a marked improvement in paediatric nursing skills and work readiness among the student nurses post intervention. Participants developed confidence in the use of medical play in the mock paediatric nursing setting. Improvements in paediatric nursing skills in relation to clinical learning, clinical reasoning and clinical confidence were reported. Conclusions: The mock children's ward provided a real time paediatric experience for undergraduate nursing students to practice using medical play to communicate and engage with children. Nursing students had the opportunity to experience children's play, practice age related communication and provide explanations to children about hospital related procedures that children may encounter. With the lack of paediatric placements, it is necessary that nursing curricula examine strategies to enhance the learning for undergraduate students about paediatrics.