The effects of clinical facilitator nurses in hospitals - Bill Whitehead

Bill Whitehead

Bill Whitehead, a Senior Lecturer in Nursing and Healthcare Practice is looking to gain an understanding of the clinical and educational needs perceived by policy makers.

Clinical facilitator nurses are a result of recent attempts to educate nurses in clinical practice rather than just in the lecture room. Bill's work set out to gain an understanding of the clinical and educational needs perceived by policy makers, the methods chosen by local managers to fulfil these needs and the practical application of the initiatives.

Bill obtained data mainly by field observations, through interviews with practising clinical facilitators and from questionnaires completed by nursing students. He also used information from official and academic sources.

Bill's research indicates that the introduction of educationally focused staff into areas dominated by clinical need, is both problematic and essential. Problematic as conflicts of role and leadership create misunderstanding and hardship for educators and clinicians. Essential because in acute wards, where nursing skill is literally a matter of life or death for patients, a large proportion of nursing staff are in need of focused educational support.

The study proposes a model of managerial support, including the introduction of educationally focused nurses intoclinical areas where they can work in a valued and protected position. This has the potential to be influential in the present and future practical education of nurses on hospital wards both locally and nationally. 

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