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Challenges and Opportunities of Rural Nursing Preceptorship: A Photovoice Perspective Open Access


Other title
rural nursing
Nursing preceptorship
participatory action research
rural preceptorship
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Oosterbroek, Tracy, A
Supervisor and department
Olive Yonge Nursing
Examining committee member and department
Dianne Tapp (Nursing)
Florence Myrick (Nursing)
Sarah Forgie (Medicine)
Sylvia Barton (Nursing)
Faculty of Nursing

Date accepted
Graduation date
2017-11:Fall 2017
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
In nursing education, preceptorship practica typically occur at the end of the undergraduate nursing program and are intended to consolidate learning as the student prepares to enter practice. Nursing students are evaluated throughout the preceptorship in part related to their ability to manage and evaluate their nursing care in terms of the entry to practice competencies. Preceptorship, being a high-stakes practice course is inherently challenging and stressful for nursing students. To date, there is a dearth of literature that has addressed the challenges and opportunities experienced by members of the preceptorship triad namely the nursing student, their faculty advisor and preceptor. The purpose of this study was to explore the challenges and opportunities associated with rural preceptorship by nursing students, their faculty advisors and preceptors. Gaps exist in the current literature concerning strategies to prepare nursing students for rural nursing preceptorship and practice. Photovoice was used as a creative approach to participatory action research (PAR), which has been found to empower and engage community members as co-researchers, for the purpose of implementing change based on the priorities of the community, in this case, teaching and learning experiences of nursing students and their faculty advisors. The study sample comprised nine senior nursing students, assigned to rural communities in a western Canadian province for their final clinical preceptorship, and five faculty advisors who moved between communities. Participants were provided with digital cameras and instructed to photograph the challenges and opportunities of rural nursing practice. The participants then selected their own photographs to present to the researcher, serving as an impetus for rich discussions during face-to-face, individual interviews. The findings from this research project offer new insights into the rural preceptorship experience, from the perspective of the students and faculty advisors. This study yields data germane to the rural setting, and relates a story of rural nursing preceptorship based on imagery and interviews. As participants described their experiences throughout the preceptorship placement, four overarching thematic clusters emerged: (1) sense of rurality, (2) rural versus urban placements, (3) travel, and (4) making do with limited resources. The implications of this study are relevant to the role of the nurse educator in the preparation of students for both the opportunities and challenges of rural nursing preceptorships. If students successfully navigate a positive preceptorship experience, this too may influence their desire to seek employment in a rural setting (Crow, Conger, & Knoki-Wilson, 2011; Edwards et al., 2004; Hunsberger et al., 2009; Killam & Carter, 2010; Webster, Lopez, Allnut, Clague, Jones & Bennett, 2010). Adequate preparation of future nurses, competent to practice in rural settings, is critical. This growing knowledge base requires comparative studies concerning challenges and opportunities in rural settings, during supervised clinical courses which could be further extended through comparative research in non-rural settings.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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