Social capital and the nursing student experience
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The article develops a theoretical argument relating to the first year experience of nursing students based on the findings from a PhD study. A 'Connections Continuum' is a tool that was developed from its qualitative and quantitative findings. The tool aims to describe the aspects of a nursing student's first year experience that are of consequence and which impact on student success. The overall findings of the wider PhD study reveal that, usually, expectations and experiences should correspond. In addition, the thematic findings expose the importance of connections - with people, with the classroom, with practice, and with professional education. These key aspects are described within the continuum with the assertion that, rather obviously, the student is more likely to be successful (in terms of staying on the course and engaging with the overall experience) when placed towards the positive end of the continuum.A theoretical argument is put forward that draws on social capital as a theoretical 'backbone' for the Connections Continuum and an argument is developed that points to social capital (within the practical framework of the Connections Continuum) as an approach that contributes to enhancement of the nursing student experience at all levels. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
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