Linking theory to practice in introductory practice learning experiences

Diane Fotheringham, David Lamont, Tamsin Macbride, Laura MacKenzie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Nurse educators internationally are challenged with finding a sufficient number of suitable practice learning experiences for student nurses. This paper reports on a study which aimed to evaluate the utilisation of specialised and highly technical environments ("new" environments) as first practice learning experiences for adult nursing students in the UK. A survey was conducted on 158 first year student nurses who were allocated to either "new" or "old" (those that have been traditionally used) environments. Data analysis was conducted using Mann Whitney U test and exploratory factor analysis was performed. Results have demonstrated that all environments afford novice nurses the opportunity to observe or practice the essential skills of nursing. In addition, the "new" environments have revealed greater opportunity to observe and practice aspects of practice related to governance of care. This paper concludes that a nursing curriculum which makes clear association between the essential nature of nursing and practice based learning outcomes will help the student to appreciate contemporary nursing practice and to link nursing theory with practice. Further research is required to explain the observation that aspects of practice related to governance are more visible within highly technical areas of practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-102
JournalNurse Education in Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015


  • Theory-practice relationship
  • Learning environment
  • Survey research
  • Practice placements


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