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Advancing clinical facilitator capability to support graduate nurses: Outputs from social learning processes embedded in action research cycles

journal contribution
posted on 2022-11-14, 04:27 authored by VN Brunelli, CA Jeffrey, S Tyler, Amanda HendersonAmanda Henderson
Aim: This study in the first instance, seeks to identify encounters that commonly occur between graduates, facilitators and others; and second, to explicate skills and behaviours needed by facilitators to effectively guide graduates to perform at expected standards. Background: In Australia, nursing graduates are expected to assimilate quickly and adapt to workplace practices within short timeframes. Clinical facilitators are provided to support transition to the workplace. However, providing support is only understood in broad terms. Design: Two consecutive action research cycles informed by extended Vygotskian learning concepts guided the study. The first cycle recorded and categorised critical encounters with graduates which were subsequently subjected to a thematic analysis to identify common circumstances where clinical facilitators are required to provide support to graduates. The second cycle articulated behaviours useful to clinical faciltators to foster graduate nurse learning, for optimal management of challenges experienced in routine daily practice. Method: Registered nurses involved in graduate clinical facilitation at a large (780 bed adult facility) and a medium (448 bed adult, paediatric, maternity) acute hospital participated in the study. This graduate facilitation team through situated learning and a series of joint activity designed an EXCEL spreadsheet on which they recorded their observations and experiences with faciltating graduates transition to practice. Results: From 1615 reported challenging interactions in the first cycle, saturation of emerging themes was reached with a random subset of 142. Six common areas of intensive needs for graduates were recorded, namely, resilience, technical support, emergent need, time management, advocate for graduate and catastrophe. The second cycle articulated processes for managing identified need areas in the form of flow charts. In practice, the flow charts provide a means for ‘scaffolding’ supervision and suggest conversations useful to facilitators to successfully support graduate nurses. Conclusion: This research has successfully explicated a largely ‘undefined’ area of nursing work, that is, making the invisible work of clinical facilitators ‘visible’ through the construction of flow charts. Specifically, advances have been made in articulating contextual, constructive support that nurses who facilitate the assimilation of graduates need to bring to interactions with graduates.




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Peer Reviewed

  • Yes

Open Access

  • No

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External Author Affiliations

Princess Alexandra Hospital, Qld; Queensland University of Technology

Era Eligible

  • Yes




Nurse Education in Practice

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