Who do they think they are? Undergraduate perceptions of the definition of supernumerary status and how it works in practice

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Abstract

Aims and objectives. The aim of this study was threefold and was based on three research questions; how did students define supernumerary status, how was it implemented in practice and what effect did it have on them?Background. Whilst there has been much debate about supernumerary status and its value to nursing practice and education there has been little work carried out from the student’s point of view.Design. The study was qualitative in nature.Methods. Focus group interviews were the method of choice based on the premise that the interaction between students/participants would generate rich experiential data.Results. Nine themes were generated that addressed the three questions asked. The themes to emerge from the category definition of supernumerary status were: not counted in the staff numbers and lack of student preparation. The themes to emerge from the category implementation of supernumerary status were: leadership style, experiences of mentorship, an extra pair of hands and not allowed to study. The themes to emerge from the category effect of supernumerary status were: their learning was enhanced, feelings of being used and reduction in self-confidence.Conclusions. There is a need to review what is meant or indeed expected from students who are supernumerary and increased clarity is required about what it is supposed to achieve.Relevance to clinical practice. The status of student nurses in practice has a direct link to the quality of the work they produce. This has a domino effect that may have far reaching consequences. Making sure that they are clear about what is expected of them from the outset will reduce confusion and allow them to move forward withskills acquisition and building their experience.Key words: focus groups, nurse education, nurses, nursing, supernumerary status,undergraduate student nurses
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1099-1105
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Volume15
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2005

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Keywords

  • focus groups
  • nurse education
  • nurses
  • nursing
  • supernumerary status
  • undergraduate student nurses

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