Aim To investigate pre-registration nursing students’ experience of research during clinical placements, and to identify any positive aspects or barriers to gaining experience of research during clinical placements.
Method Qualitative, phenomenological, semi-structured interviews were undertaken with preregistration degree-level nursing students. The students were attending one university in the east of England, and were on clinical placements at one of three hospital sites in two trusts. Data were reviewed using thematic analysis.
Findings The main themes that emerged from the interview data were: visibility, mentor influence, placement culture, student mindset, and role of the university. The study participants provided suggestions that could be adopted by universities and trusts to improve nursing students’ experience of research during clinical placements, such as increasing opportunities to shadow research teams, introducing research earlier in the pre-registration course, and including a practical research module in the course.
Conclusion Nursing students’ experience of research during their clinical placements varied. It is important for trusts and universities to identify ways to improve nursing students’ experience of research and to enhance their research learning, since research activity drives innovation and best practice.