An exploration of peer-assisted learning in undergraduate nursing students in paediatric clinical settings: An ethnographic study
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Background: Peer-assisted leaning relates to the acquisition of knowledge and skills through shared learning of matched equals. The concept has been explored within the field of nurse education across a range of learning environments, but its impact in practice is still relatively unknown. This paper reports on findings when observing paediatric undergraduate nursing students who engage in PAL within the clinical practice setting. Objectives: The aim of this paper is to report the findings of a study undertaken to explore peer-assisted learning in undergraduate nursing students, studying children's health, in the clinical practice setting. Design: A qualitative ethnographic study using non-participant observations. Settings: A range of inpatient paediatric clinical settings across two teaching hospitals. Participants: First, second and third year paediatric student nurses enrolled on a Bachelor of Nursing Programme. Methods: Non-participant observations were used to observe a range of interactions between the participants when engaging in peer-assisted learning within the same clinical area. A total of 67 h of raw data collected across all observations was analysed using framework analysis to draw together key themes. Results: Of the 20 identified students across two hospitals, 17 agreed to take part in the study. Findings were aggregated into three key themes; 1. Peers as facilitators to develop learning when engaging in peer-assisted learning, 2. Working together to develop clinical practice and deliver care, 3. Positive support and interaction from peers to enhance networking and develop working structure. Conclusions: Peer-assisted learning in undergraduate children's nursing students stimulates students in becoming engaged in their learning experiences in clinical practice and enhance collaborative support within the working environment. The benefits of peer-assisted learning in current clinical practice settings can be challenging. Therefore, education and practice need to be aware of the benefits and their contribution towards future strategies and models of learning.
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