The influence of supervisory support on clinical learning as experienced by Czech Nursing and health professional students in the context of patient safety events: a qualitative study

Daniela Javornická , Helena Kisvetrová, Evá Prušová, Renáta Váverková, Jane Greaves, Alison Steven*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To explore the influence of supervisory and mentoring relationships on the clinical learning experiences of Czech Nursing and health professional students in the context of patient safety events

Clinical experience is integral to healthcare education, shaping skills, behaviours, values and professional identity. During clinical placements, students may encounter memorable patient safety events and experience varied reactions from mentors/supervisors/others. Some research has highlighted challenges faced by students on clinical placement. Few studies involve multiple professions, most emanating from Western Europe, the UK, the USA and Australia with little relating to central European countries such as the Czech Republic.

Two stage interpretivist qualitative study based in social constructionism

Convenience sample across 13 undergraduate and 18 postgraduate health professions courses. Stage 1 (2022): using SLIPPS Learning Event Recording Tool translated into Czech. 20 students’ (Midwifery=11, Nursing=1, Paramedic=1, Occupational therapy =7) submitted 21 patient safety learning event narratives. Stage 2 (2022): Focus group with 2 nursing and nine midwifery students. Phased thematic analysis involving multiple researchers.

Three themes illustrate the circumstances and impact of placement mentoring/supervision experiences, conceptualised as: ‘Clinical and Emotional Companionship’, ‘Clinical and Emotional Abandonment’ and ‘Sense of agency - Professional and personal growth’. ‘Companionship’ reflected the students’ feelings of being welcomed, respected, heard, trusted and supported. Conversely ‘abandonment’ emerged from feelings of being unheard, vulnerable, humiliated, afraid, leaving students feeling abandoned, lonely and ‘useless’. Notwithstanding these conditions, students showed the ability to identify patient safety issues with agency evident in reactions such as stepping-in to try to ameliorate a situation, rather than speaking-up. Professional and personal growth was also apparent in their narratives and a conceptual diagram illustrates the students’ learning journeys in a patient safety context.

The findings and new conceptualisations around abandonment and companionship emerging from this study expand the evidence base regarding the profound impact of clinical experience and mentorship/supervision on learning and students’ emotional wellbeing. A sense of companionship appears to play a buffering role even in challenging circumstances of involvement in or witnessing compromised patients’ safety. Allowing students a sense of belonging, to vent, grow, feel supported and safe to ask/learn - contributing to ‘emotional safety for learning’, promotes students’ behaviour that may prevent/minimize hazards or ameliorate the aftermath. However, we must not simply blame mentors/supervisors, staff, or the students themselves- they are simply part of a much larger complex environment of professional education encompassing hidden curriculums, power dynamics and professional socialisation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104041
Number of pages10
JournalNurse Education in Practice
Early online date1 Jul 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jul 2024

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