Nursing students’ first placement: Peripherality and marginality within the community of practice

Mark Molesworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
242 Downloads (Pure)


For many students the first placement is a momentous and daunting experience (Sharples, 2009). It leads to a shift in the identity of students as their attitude and practices change (Miller et al., 2008). There is often a contrast between nursing students’ expectations at the start of their education and their actual experiences during placement (Hoel, Giga and Davidson, 2007). This mismatch can lead to attrition (Cook, 2009) which is often highest in the first practice learning opportunity (Aston and Hallam, 2011). Indeed, placement experiences count as a factor in a third of all cases of withdrawal from programmes in Scotland (Royal College of Nursing, 2008) and high levels of attrition from nursing programmes are a concern from both Scottish and international perspectives (Rodgers, Stenhouse, McCreadie and Small, 2012).

This qualitative study aims to gain new insights into first placement experiences within pre-registration nurse education from the perspective of student nurses. Key concepts from the social learning theory communities of practice (CoP) (Lave and Wenger, 1991; Wenger, 1998) provide a framework for the analysis of these experiences. This novel approach provides information which may be useful to those with a stake in nurse education, particularly in relation to preparing and supporting students within practice settings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31
Number of pages38
JournalJournal of Nursing Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2017


Dive into the research topics of 'Nursing students’ first placement: Peripherality and marginality within the community of practice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this