A dietetic clinical educator enhances the experience and assessment of clinical placement
Nutrition & Dietetics
School of Medical and Health Sciences
AIM: The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of a Clinical Educator model on the learning experience and environment for students, preceptors and managers.
METHODS: A Clinical Educator position was established for the 10-week dietetic clinical placement at Edith Cowan University. The Clinical Educator was responsible for overseeing the placement and assisting in the supervision of students. A qualitative descriptive approach using focus groups with purposive sampling explored the research question. Students (n = 10), preceptors (n = 21) and managers (n = 3) participated in separate focus groups. Data were thematically analysed with consideration given to participant and focus group commonalities and differences.
RESULTS: The findings revealed that the Clinical Educator (i) reduced the logistical burden of student placements and improved time efficiency; (ii) facilitated student assessment within a programme of assessment; (iii) was uniquely positioned to provide support and enhance student confidence; and (iv) enhanced capacity to manage underperforming and challenging students.
CONCLUSIONS: The Clinical Educator model increased student confidence, facilitated quality assessment and supported the management of underperforming students. This was achieved by reducing the burden of clinical placements, facilitating effective and timely communication between stakeholders and supporting the establishment of meaningful relationships which enriched learning. The results highlight the importance of the people involved in placement to facilitate a positive student learning environment and high quality assessment.