A Qualitative Study to Determine Perceptions of Neonatal and Pediatric Clinical Education in an Allied Health Profession
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The purpose of this study was to determine the limitations and strengths of neonatal and pediatric critical care clinical education rotations to adequately prepare respiratory care students. All respiratory care programs have a curriculum built around procedural skills assessment in the clinical environment and lecture instruction in the classroom. Therefore, clinical education is an accreditation requirement and is an invaluable part of every respiratory care curriculum. Situated learning was the theoretical perspective and constructivism was the theory of learning that guided my actions, assumptions and perspectives. Using a phenomenological research approach 14 participants were interviewed to gain an understanding of their perceptions of the neonatal and pediatric clinical rotation. An interview guide was used to keep the participants focused on the study’s purpose. However, participants were encouraged to speak openly about their clinical experiences. Interviews were recorded and transcribed prior to analysis. The lived experiences of these participants provided the data required to answer the research questions and to generate future areas of research.
Results indicate that participation in respiratory care procedures in the clinical environment is preferred and the ability to engage in direct patient care is a major strength and potentially a limitation of the rotation. The neonatal and pediatric environment offers unique challenges to respiratory car students that could potentially inhibit active involvement with patient care. The clinical instructors play a huge role toward maximizing student involvement and should be viewed as such by directors of clinical education. Preparatory activities prior to and after the neonatal and pediatric clinical rotation should be strongly considered by respiratory care programs. Student motivation to engage in clinical activities and clinical instructor trust in student abilities appear to play dual roles in neonatal and pediatric clinical outcomes.
These results have definite implications on practice, policy and future theory development. This study provided a beginning source for considering changes in current neonatal and pediatric clinical curriculum. This study will assist directors of clinical education when planning and altering hospital rotations. From a policy consideration the results of this study offer a perspective on neonatal and pediatric clinical rotations that impact accreditation standard development and changes. This study offers a means of comparison of respiratory care students and clinical outcomes to those of other nursing and allied health studies. This study extends the available literature related to perceptions of clinical education. The revision of the conceptual framework will guide researchers efforts in other projects. This study demonstrates the need for research related to clinical education and offers additional recommendations for future studies. Clinical survey development and distribution is the next phase to generate data on clinical education in respiratory care. Comprehensive clinical education offerings are of paramount importance to the success of respiratory care graduates. With additional research we can begin to fill other gaps in the available literature.