The influence of assistant grade nurses on the clinical development of student mental health nurses: a phenomenological study

Mark Gillespie

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


There has been increased professional, public and press focus in recent years over what are perceived to be deficiencies within healthcare delivery in the UK. Government commissioned reports have highlighted suggested limitations within the attributes and preparation of nursing staff as contributing to this, and have recommended integration between nurse education and the role of the nursing assistant as a remedy. This has been done without any significant investigation of the existing interrelationship between these staff groups, a relationship that is presently considered under researched, and which has until recently been largely excluded from any significant investigation or recognition. As the small number of related studies available have focused on students training for the adult field of nursing, so there is even less known about the contact nursing assistants have with student mental health nurses and the impact of this relationship on the students’ clinical development.
To further explore this phenomenon, a study was undertaken to investigate how individuals from each of the groups most closely involved with student mental health nurse clinical development; mentors, nursing assistants and the students themselves, understand how nursing assistants contribute to student nurse training within the clinical setting. This study involved an initial review of the literature relevant to this subject, a review that shaped a subsequent mixed methods study underpinned by a phenomenological ontology. Data was collected via the use of diaries and individual interviews and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.
Analysis of completed diaries and transcribed interviews from the nine participants identified three superordinate themes that provided recognition of key involvement of nursing assistants in the clinical development of student mental health nurses during practice placements. The nursing assistants were seen to provide guidance around complex and significant skills and interventions, and often provided his at crucial times within the students training.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2016
EventEnhancing Nursing through Educational Research (ENTER) Conference 2016 - Edinburgh Napier University
Duration: 18 Nov 201618 Nov 2016


ConferenceEnhancing Nursing through Educational Research (ENTER) Conference 2016
Abbreviated titleENTER Conference 2016
Internet address


  • Nurse education
  • Student nurses
  • Clinical Development


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