I was working with preceptor to supervise undergraduate students on their clinical rotation in different units of Aga Khan University Hospital. The students were divided into two groups; my preceptor and I supervised one group and another course faculty supervised the other group. It was the end of second week of clinical rotation, when one group of students complained to my preceptor that their assigned teacher is not visiting them for the last two weeks even not responding their e-mails and phone calls. In addition, they also stated that clinical preceptor is not facilitating them for their clinical based project because there was no direct communication between course faculty and preceptor. My preceptor kept quiet and did not respond to the students.
My role in the Situation/Scenario
I was surprised to hear the complaint stated by students because I wondered that how it could be possible that a teacher, who is working in a standardized institution (AKU), will not fulfill her responsibilities. I assumed that teacher must have been going to clinical but due to some reason, she might not be able to see some of the students. Based on my assumptions, I defended the teacher in front of the students by saying that “how it can be possible that she did not visit students for a single day on their clinical rotation”. In response to my verbal defense for the teacher, students showed anger by muttering to each other, “She is doing favor of the teacher and not paying attention to our concern”.
Later on, I reflected on the scenario and asked a few questions to myself. Did I answer appropriately to the students? Why my preceptor kept quiet in front of students? What could be the reason that teacher is not going to supervise students on their clinical? Is it not expected from a teacher to visit students on their clinical? What are the students’ expectations from their clinical rotation? What is the role of clinical preceptor in facilitating students on their clinical?
Analysis of the Situation and my Learning
After analyzing the situation, I regretted for what I said to the students after knowing the fact that teacher did not supervise students for a single time. I realized that I should not respond to students as I did based on my assumptions of a standardized institute rather I should take some time to analyze the situation and then respond to students according to the scenario. If I would be given a second chance for the same kind of situation/scenario; I would say, “let me give some time to ask from the teacher that how we could solve the situation or facilitate you (students)” in order to be fair with the teacher and students as well.
I thought a number of reasons for silent attitude of my preceptor in front of students. I assumed that there could be two alternatives for demonstrating silence by my preceptor; one is that she is not concerned about others what they are doing in their job. The second reason could be that she might be already aware of the situation that other teacher is not attending the clinical. I discussed this issue with my preceptor and I was surprised to know that my preceptor was already aware about the situation and she had forwarded the report to the respective director of undergraduate program.
There could be a number of reasons if a teacher is not performing his/her duty to supervise students on their clinical as required. One could be personal attitude of a teacher that she/he may not be interested in supervising students on clinical; the second reason could be poor health of a teacher. Besides, there could be a possibility that teacher is overburdened due to some other assignments restricting her to perform the job.
I realized that, a teacher must report it to the prospective supervisor or director whatever the reason he/she had rather than ignoring and compromising the students’ learning. I have learnt from the situation that if I would be given the responsibility of clinical supervision of students, I would perform my job as per the requirement. If there would be some reason, I would report my concerns directly to my supervisor/director. Furthermore, I would arrange some alternatives for it; for example, I can request to some other faculty for replacing my duty and facilitating students on their clinical rather than compromising students’ learning and giving a bad impression of myself to students.
Role of a Teacher and a Preceptor in students’ clinical based learning
I have analyzed the role of a teacher and clinical preceptor through available literature; a teacher should supervise the undergraduate students during their clinical to facilitate them for better learning outcomes (Borch, Athlin, Hov, & Duppils, 2013). If a teacher is not monitoring students on clinical then it is not only difficult for a teacher to grade/mark their clinical evaluation, but also compromise students’ learning in terms of not addressing their learning needs.
Furthermore, the role of preceptor is also very crucial in facilitating the students for required clinical hours and clinical based learning. A preceptor’s support and guidance facilitate students to gain confidence and ease their anxiety during clinical hours (O’Connor, 2014).
I learnt from the scenario that there are a number of essential aspects of effective preceptorship model. Preceptor must be informed in advance (before the commencement of students’ clinical hours) for what is expected from her/him and must be agreed to facilitate the student for his/her learning. There must be clear communication between course faculty and clinical preceptor for students’ facilitation for their clinical learning. In addition, course faculty must arrange a face-to-face meeting with clinical preceptors and students so that the expectations of students and preceptors should be communicated ahead of time.
Role of Students in Clinical Based Learning
The role of students is also very important in clinical based learning environment.
For clinical based learning, students are expected to formulate and share learning objectives with their course faculty and clinical preceptor. Moreover, students are required to fulfill the required clinical hours and work under clinical preceptor’s supervision for completion of learning objectives. Students should discuss the issues and concerns with their preceptors and course faculty as needed. In addition, students value the presence of a teacher for their learning during clinical (Bjork, Berntsen, Brynildsen, & Hestetun, 2014) as they can openly discuss their concerns and issues related to their preceptor and clinical environment. It enhances their confidence level and makes them responsible and accountable for their learning.
I have learnt from the scenario that, clinical based learning is both challenging and rewarding for the students. Students may come across different types of challenges such as, development of learning objectives in relation with the course objectives, and prepare self for each clinical day. On the other hand, students learn best from their clinical based experience and gain confidence in decision making with facilitation of the preceptor. In addition, they also experience teamwork by coordination with preceptor and course faculty.
To conclude, clinical based learning is significant particularly in nursing profession. For clinical based learning, students should provide the opportunity for application of theoretical concepts into practice in order to prepare them as the future nurses. For clinical education, students, course teachers, and clinical preceptors play an essential role in achieving the desired results for students’ effective learning outcomes. Course teacher must be accountable for their responsibilities towards students’ clinical learning and assessment. In addition, regardless of the reason, one must approach the suitable way to solve the issues rather than assuming or ignoring the situation. Moreover, students, course faculty, and preceptors must have clear expectations from each other about their clinical rotation and the learning objectives.