"I felt like a real nurse": Student nurses, out on their own

Evelyn E. Anderson, Alice M. Kiger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


In the United Kingdom, the education of nurses to be 'fit for practice' has received considerable attention having a catalytic effect on the way nursing programmes are organised. A period of clinical practice is now recommended in the final stages of nurse education to help prepare students for the role of registered practitioner. In the study area, the opportunity for student nurses in the final stages of their programme to visit patients and clients on their own in the community is given to facilitate achievement of the competencies required for entry to the nursing register. The aim of the study reported here was to discover what this experience meant for students in their final year. A qualitative methodology utilising one-to-one, semi-structured interviews was adopted. The tape-recorded interviews were transcribed and the content analysed to reveal codes, categories and themes. The findings revealed that being 'out on their own' was valued by students who felt they were taking on the role of a 'real nurse'. The main themes to emerge were: building confidence, developing professionalism in relationships, learning to manage care, developing knowledge and gaining insight, and being included and supported. The opportunity for final stage students to work independently in whatever setting they are placed is recommended as important for their professional development. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-449
Number of pages6
JournalNurse Education Today
Issue number4
Early online date25 Sept 2007
Publication statusPublished - May 2008


  • senior nursing students
  • community placement
  • independent working
  • experience
  • placement
  • perceptions
  • educations


Dive into the research topics of '"I felt like a real nurse": Student nurses, out on their own'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this