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The purpose of this quantitative nursing study was to evaluate nursing students’ confidence and practical skills when taking care of real patients in a clinical setting after clinical laboratory practice

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The purpose of this quantitative nursing study was to evaluate nursing students’ confidence and practical skills when taking care of real patients in a clinical setting after clinical laboratory practice (CLP). Because this is such a broad topic, the researchers focused on only one nursing skill—the bed bath. The subjects were a population of 160 students from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology bachelor’s nursing program. The 160 students were then divided into two random groups for training sessions in the bed bath skill. Class 1 had 79 students and Class 2 had 81 students. Class 1 served as the control group. Class 2 was more problem-oriented and hands-on than Class 1 in which supervisors closely observed students’ activity and presented more guidance. The supervisors in Class 2 had a minimal role. Data were collected through two questionnaires, one completed immediately after the CLP (Form 1) and the other to be completed shortly after clinical practice (Form 2), 6 months later. The forms required the students to read several statements and rank how strongly they agree or disagree on a five-point scale. Each form was coded with numbers to represent the student and his or her group. The answers were then entered into a database and several tests were conducted to assess connections between statements in Forms 1 and 2. Around half (47%) of the respondents reported that they should have been better prepared for clinical practice, although 85% agreed or strongly agreed that they would be able to master the bed bath skill with a real patient after the training session. When asked if procedures in CLP closely resembles those in clinical practice, 70.6% disagreed or were undecided. 53.8% of respondents from Class 2 and 92.2% of respondents from Class 1 agreed or strongly agreed to satisfaction with the training session. This suggests that Class 2 was significantly less satisfied than Class 1 with the skills training they received. Overall, the majority of participants agreed that training sessions were important for gaining confidence to master the bed bath skill, although the respondents from Class 2 felt they should have been better prepared for clinical practice. The results of this study suggest that the facilitation of clinical laboratory practice has a meaningful impact on students’ confidence as they transition into “real life” clinical practice. This article could be useful for the staff of university nursing programs as policies and procedures are constantly changing, as well as laboratory instructors who should be engaged and provide guidance to better prepare nursing students for the real-world.

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