Aim: The aim of the research was to explore the nursing students’ opinion and their experiences about their clinical learning.
• Explore how student nurses find their initial experiences in the clinical area.
• Identify the contributory and hindering factors for effective learning in the clinical area.
• Identify teaching strategies that will enhance learning in the clinical area.
Background: Clinical learning is an important component of nursing education and takes place in a complex social contact of the clinical environment. Learning in a clinical setting creates challenges that are absent in a classroom.
Design: Qualitative research design was used and data were collected from Level II and Level III nursing students. Convenience sampling technique was utilized to collect data from the participants. Two FGDs among level III and two among level II nursing students were conducted at the Institute of Health Sciences, Botswana. There were four focus groups discussions and each had eleven participants.
Data analysis: The data were analysed by content analysis using a thematic framework approach.
Results: Focus group discussions revealed that nursing students did experience initial clinical anxiety, stress, lack of teaching and guiding support, lack of organizational support and resources, inadequate clinical supervision, and role acceptance.
Conclusion: The findings highlight the importance of clinical learning in the integration of nursing education and practice. Nurse educators and clinical nurses should strive to create a conducive environment, which maximises the nursing students’ clinical learning.