Background: Facilitation is an important component of nurse education. Clinical placements have a profound impact on the development of knowledge, skills and attitudes and inform student’s decisions as to where they might work (discipline area) when they graduate. Integral to this is the role of the facilitator. Currently, there is quite a lot of research on clinical facilitation, mostly from a student perspective, but there is a dearth of research that has been undertaken that specifically focuses on a non-conventional mental health clinical placement from a facilitator perspective.
The aim of this paper is to present findings from a Bachelor of Nursing Honours project that explored the experience that facilitators have when enabling the learning of BN students in a non-conventional mental health clinical placement. The research approach was guided by Heideggerian phenomenology which enabled the collection of rich, descriptive data and is highly relevant to understanding lived experience. In this study, lived experience is the experience that facilitators have when enabling the learning of BN students in a non-conventional mental health clinical placement.
Findings: The paper will explore results of the thematic analysis that was undertaken on data produced through semi structured individual interviews. Data analysis revealed that the participants felt that facilitator had an integral role in student learning, that facilitators were important role models and that they were in a prime position to advocate for the discipline of mental health nursing.
Significance of research: Clinical placements have a significant impact on whether a student chooses a particular discipline area to work in upon graduation. With a shortage of mental health nurses and the majority of graduating students not choosing to work in mental health, understanding the role of the facilitator is important given their capacity to positively influence the clinical placement experience. If the facilitator can enhance student learning, role model positive mental health nursing behaviour and advocate for mental health nursing as a discipline area of choice – more students may choose mental health when they are looking for work as a registered nurse.