Author Identifier

Karen Ann McCarthy

Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Master of Nursing (Research)


School of Nursing and Midwifery

First Supervisor

Deborah Sundin

Second Supervisor

Elisabeth Jacob



This study aimed to determine the impact of the implementation of a ward based Nurse Clinical Educator (NCE) role on students and staff at one health service whilst students were on clinical practicum at a Western Australian regional health care facility.


The research question was: “What impact does the NCE support intervention have on students and clinical staff during clinical practicum?” Background Clinical experience for undergraduate student nurses (students) undertaking their bachelor’s degree is of utmost importance for gaining both competence and registration. Students encounter difficulties in obtaining opportunities to practice their skills and develop competence when on clinical practicum; and preceptors are often overwhelmed by their responsibility to supervise students, as well as provide holistic patient care. The literature identifies a need for a role which is directly responsible for student learning, which would maximise learning opportunities for students, as well as support preceptors. This role could maintain synergistic relationships and communication between the university and clinical facilities. Although there is literature reporting on the evaluation of either students’ or preceptors’ experience in the clinical setting, there have been only a few studies where both students’ and preceptors’ experiences were evaluated in the same study; or the effectiveness of a support model was implemented into the clinical setting and evaluated. Research focused on the implementation of a partnership intervention support model, would add to the limited body of knowledge on the efficacy of clinical support interventions.


This study utilises a convergent parallel mixed methods design, as it was deemed to provide a better triangulation of data obtained. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected in surveys before and after the NCE intervention, whilst students were on clinical practicum. Surveys collected data using both Likert-scale and open text responses. Analysis was performed using descriptive statistics and content analysis to interpret the findings.


Participants in this study were undergraduate nursing students and clinical staff who participated in clinical practicum during the implementation of a ward-based NCE support role in a Western Australian regional health care facility.


This study found the main impact of the NCE role was upon stress and time. Stress was reduced for both students who had access to increased support networks, and for preceptors who could obtain assistance with students when workloads were heavy. There was an increase in teaching time available for skill development for the students, which in turn led to increased competence of students, less time taken by student to undertake skills, and increased student confidence. There was an increase in available time for the preceptors for their workloads on the wards, and more time for preceptors to assist students, without being hampered by students taking a long time with skills.