Has anyone seen the student? Creating a welcoming practice environment for students
A person's introduction to a new environment, whether they are a patient or a student, is critical. Although patients have the ‘Hello my name is …’ campaign to make them less anxious when entering a clinical setting, there is no equivalent for students. Making both patients and students welcome is essential to establishing a rapport and a sense of belonging at a time when each can feel at their most vulnerable. This can influence their journey into something that is positive or negative. This article explores some practical measures that can be adopted to create a welcoming practice environment for students.
Educational institutions, alongside practice learning partners, should ensure students experience the variety of practice expected of registered nurses if they are to meet the holistic needs of people of all ages, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) (2018a) has said. When nursing students arrive in practice placements, they often find they settle in best in areas where they are considered not simply ‘the student’ but are acknowledged and called by their name. Tutors, visiting placements from higher education institutions, have noticed that being referred as ‘the student’ can cause students to withdraw and try to blend into the background of the practice environment almost like a chameleon (Levett-Jones and Lathlean, 2008; Melincavage, 2011).
The aim of this paper is to explore the significance of offering a meaningful welcome to a practice placement and how this is integral to influencing a positive learning experience.
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