Exploring continuous clinical placement for undergraduate students Academic Article uri icon


  • Clinical placements are integral to health professional preparatory courses. These placements allow for the application of classroom-based learning into real patient care situations. In doing so, they provide opportunities for applying theoretical knowledge into practice contexts, skills development and socialisation into the chosen profession. However, despite its recognised importance across health professions, little has been written about optimal structures for supporting clinical learning. This paper presents one group of findings from a larger qualitative study aimed at exploring health professional student's clinical experiences and their impact on career intentions. Findings reported here present a group of undergraduate midwifery student's perspectives on a "home" hospital clinical placement model where continuous clinical placements were taken in the same agency (or hospital group) for 2 days per week over the final 2 years of their course. Two main themes emerged from the data analysis, these being, 'familiarity' and 'continuity'. It is concluded that continuous placements in the same clinical setting have the potential to offer greater opportunities for learning and early professional socialisation than traditional block (Monday to Friday) placements. They can offer a more integrated approach to classroom theory and its application into practice.

publication date

  • August 2009