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Conference Paper/Proceeding/Abstract 758 views

Sustaining connections during practice placements: Supporting first year nursing students using Skype.

Tessa Watts Orcid Logo, Hywel Thomas, Lauren Piercey, Elen Davies, Craig Thomas

International Networking for Education in Healthcare

Swansea University Author: Tessa Watts Orcid Logo

Abstract

In promoting integration and engagement and enhancing retention, completion and success, the need for effective student support has never been greater. Support is an imperative for nursing students who face additional challenges associated with simultaneously learning and ‘working’. These challenges...

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Published in: International Networking for Education in Healthcare
Published: 2015
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa23036
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Abstract: In promoting integration and engagement and enhancing retention, completion and success, the need for effective student support has never been greater. Support is an imperative for nursing students who face additional challenges associated with simultaneously learning and ‘working’. These challenges are primarily associated with the leap into an unknown world: that of work based clinical placements and the ‘reality shock’ many experience (Kevern & Webb, 2004). Students may find that they have to adapt rapidly to the world of work, the peripatetic lifestyle whilst at the same time contend with the intensity, complexity, unpredictability and emotional dimensions of professional practice. Whilst most cope, some find placements extremely challenging (Walsh, 2007). Coupled with academic and other demands, these challenges can have an overwhelming cumulative effect. For some pressures become intolerable, early enthusiasm wanes, priorities are reassessed and they fall by the wayside. Indeed issues linked with clinical placements contribute to students’ decisions to leave (Watts, 2011). While mentorship support should be provided locally, students may be isolated from their treasured support networks: their peers and personal tutors. Placements which are geographically distal to the University compound students’ relative isolation. For academics, supporting students in clinical areas is fraught with challenges. Yet there are opportunities to capitalise on the potential offered by the advancing digital, mobile technologies that so many undergraduates are familiar with. Indeed, advances in digital mobile technologies are having a transformative impact on pedagogical approaches. However, while the value of social media as an engagement tool in education is recognised (George & Dellasega, 2011), its integration and use in initial nursing education is in its infancy (Schmitt, Sims-Gibbins, & Booth, 2012). Given the diversity of the nursing student population, the nature and structure of the professional programme conjoined with accessibility and convergence of smart mobile devices, the internet and new software applications, creatively used social media can be an effective pedagogical tool. It can be to enhance the learning experience for information can be disseminated in real time and interaction and feedback may be instantaneous. Moreover social media use promotes active learning whilst also offering flexibility. It may be used to foster integration and create online learning communities of support. Whilst not a substitute for face to face contact, social media can be useful means of sustaining communication and support during students’ placements. This paper reports findings from the investigation of the use of the Skype© social media platform as an additional means of communicating with and supporting first year nursing students during their clinical placements. The findings will be of interest to academics engaged in programmes with work based components and also for those with international learning opportunities. Moreover, whilst recognising potential implications in terms of costs and technological requirements, the findings could pave the way for exploration of further mobile technology enhanced learning.
Keywords: Social media digital mobile technologies student support personal tutoring
College: College of Human and Health Sciences