Developing and sustaining an identity: nursing student workplace experiences in Vietnam

Van N.B. Nguyen, Carol Windsor

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Nursing students develop practical skills, clinical competence and a professional identity in the
hospital workplace environment. The hospital is also a complex setting that gives rise to anxiety and associated deleterious experiences. This study explored and interpreted the experiences of bachelor nursing students on clinical placement in Vietnam. While the majority of the Vietnamese nursing workforce is prepared to secondary level, the nursing academic sector is working to emulate international standards of nursing clinical education. A constructivist approach integrated with the symbolic interactionist concepts of interaction, human action and identity shaped the methods and produced an interpretation of the world of the research participants. Data were generated through semi-structured interviews with 12 third-year nursing students enrolled in a Bachelor of Nursing program at a leading university in Vietnam. Two key conceptualizations were generated: “encountering reality” to reflect the challenges inherent to hospitals as they shaped student experience in Vietnam; and “confronting prejudice” which depicted the socially embedded views of allied health staff and patients towards nursing students. The conceptualizations combined reveal the ways in which nursing students socially and professionally struggle to develop and sustain an affirmative nursing identity in Vietnam. The participant experiences were the product of a complex mix of social, institutional and professional dynamics. The findings contribute to knowledge on an emergent professional nursing identity in an Asian society and the sustainability or otherwise of the current workplace learning model for nursing students in Vietnam
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
EventWACE’s International Symposium on Cooperative & Work-Integrated Education 2014 - Trollhattan, Sweden
Duration: 2 Jun 20144 Jun 2014
Conference number: 10th


ConferenceWACE’s International Symposium on Cooperative & Work-Integrated Education 2014


  • nursing student
  • professional identity
  • Vietnam
  • Clinical education

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