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Project Report

Transfer of learning to the nursing clinical practice setting

Submitted: 9 September 2009
Revised: 19 February 2010
Published: 8 April 2010

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Author(s) : Maginnis C, Croxon L.

Cathy MaginnisLyn Croxon

Citation: Maginnis C, Croxon L.  Transfer of learning to the nursing clinical practice setting. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2010; 10: 1313. Available: (Accessed 18 October 2017)


Introduction:  The aim of this project was to identify if there is a link between what nursing students learn in simulated clinical laboratory sessions and what they experience during their clinical placements. Clinical laboratories are commonly used to assist students to develop clinical nursing skills through simulation of clinical experiences. Issue: Little research has been conducted into the effectiveness of clinical laboratory sessions for nursing students and whether these sessions play a role in linking theory to practice. The intent is to determine if the clinical laboratory sessions assisted students to integrate theory and practice in the rural nursing setting.
Method:  The participants were a cohort of first year undergraduate Bachelor of Nursing students at a rural campus of an Australian regional inland university during a first year clinical placement in small rural hospitals. The mixed methods utilised included a questionnaire survey and semi-structured interviews undertaken with nine first year nursing students. Questions asked related to the students’ perceptions of what they were taught in the clinical laboratory sessions and what they experienced during clinical placements.
Results:  The results reinforced the need to utilise a combination of lecture and clinical laboratory sessions while highlighting the necessity for clinical placement and ‘hands on’ experience. Discrepancies and differences were recognised in the area of documentation and in the practice of some skills.
Conclusion:  Parity between what is taught and what is experienced is imperative to ensure safe practice in nursing students.

Key words:  Australia, clinical laboratories, clinical placement, linking theory and practice, nursing.

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