Dietetic student preparedness and performance on clinical placements perspectives of clinical educators

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Clinical educators (CEs) play a key role in student learning, yet their insights of student preparedness and performance during initial clinical placements are often under-recognised. AIM: To explore the experience of hospital-based CEs on the preparedness and performance of student dietitians on clinical placements to inform curriculum planning. METHODS: Eight semi-structured focus groups consisted of dietetic CEs (n=20) involved in the training of third-year students commencing their first clinical placement. Focus groups were conducted up to 2 months' post-placement completion and thematically analysed grounded in phenomenology. RESULTS: Six themes emerged: 1) role of professional skills, 2) clinical skills and knowledge, 3) anxiety and confidence, 4) unique needs of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) students, 5) impact of student training on CEs, and 6) variation in expectations of student preparedness. CONCLUSIONS: CEs valued professional skills of students and they reported students exhibited a range of developed traits. Anxiety and knowledge gaps hindered placement progress, and CALD students were reported to provide particular challenges. Expectations of CEs, the university, and students are not always congruent, and there were similar variations between CEs themselves. The findings have been used to address these challenges and improve collaboration between university and clinical placements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-107
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Allied Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015

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