Serah Wanjiru Wachira, Anne Kagure Karani, Samuel T Kimani, Irene Gacheri Mageto


Background/aim: There is a need to assess students' reflective work to identify learning enhancers and barriers to improve nurse training. Although reflective writing has been an ongoing clinical nurse education practice globally, analysis of journal reflections to identify student nurses' clinical experiences is scanty, especially in the local Kenyan setting. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the lived clinical experiences of student nurses to identify learning enhancers and barriers. Methods: This research was the qualitative part of a mixed-method approach. Qualitative content analysis was utilized to scrutinize 138 reflective journal entries of 36 undergraduate nursing students in the second and third years of practice. The participants were from a Public University, School of Nursing, in Kenya. The students documented their clinical experiences during their medical-surgical clinical attachment at a National Referral Hospital in Kenya between February and August 2018. The average entries per student were four with a range of 2-6 entries per journal. Gibb's reflective model guided documentation of reflections. NVIVO version 11 was used to code, transcribe, and analyze the journal narratives. Results: Four main themes emerged from the analysis; Gaining new skills and knowledge, confidence levels, professional practice gaps, and professional support system. Conclusion: Nursing students' experience is focused on gaining new knowledge and skills and building their confidence to practice. However, positive and negative encounters develop their buoyancy and frustrate their desire to learn, respectively.


clinical experiences; reflective journaling; nursing; students; Kenya

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