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Achievement of Community Health Nursing Competencies through Undergraduate Clinical Experiences: A Gap Analysis Open Access


Other title
clinical education
nursing education, undergraduate
community health
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Pijl Zieber, Emily (Em)
Supervisor and department
Barton, Sylvia (Nursing)
Examining committee member and department
Awosoga, Olu (Health Sciences)
Konkin, Jill (Medicine)
Faculty of Nursing

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
It is widely believed that in Canada, nursing practice and health care are moving from acute care into the community. What has yet to be established, however, is the degree to which undergraduate nursing students are being prepared for community health nursing practice through their community health clinical rotations. In particular, how well non-traditional or innovative community placements prepare students for registered nursing practice in the community has never been quantified. The purposes of this province-wide multi-stakeholder mixed method research study were to: delineate the competencies required of nursing students from stakeholder (industry, faculty, and student) perspectives; understand the nature of the gap between desired and observed competency level; and establish strategies for moving forward in the preparation of new nurses for community health practice in Alberta. Findings suggest that undergraduate pre-registration nursing students are not being adequately prepared for registered nursing practice roles in community health. In all competency performance items on the survey tool, observed scores were significantly lower than desired scores. Faculty and students rated observed and desired scores higher than did community health nurses, for whom the observed-desired gap was also wider. Focus group findings reveal that perspectives differ by stakeholder group regarding what it means to be prepared for community health nursing practice and how this readiness is best accomplished. As well, faculty and student perspectives often differ significantly from perspectives of practicing nurses about what new graduates need in order to be ready for community health practice.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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