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Measuring the quality of nursing clinical placements and the development of the Placement Evaluation Tool (PET) in a mixed methods co-design project


Cooper, S and Cant, R and Waters, D and Luders, E and Henderson, A and Willetts, G and Tower, M and Reid-Searl, K and Ryan, C and Hood, K, Measuring the quality of nursing clinical placements and the development of the Placement Evaluation Tool (PET) in a mixed methods co-design project, BMC Nursing, 19, (1) Article 101. ISSN 1472-6955 (2020) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

2020 The Author(s). This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License, ( which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made.

DOI: doi:10.1186/s12912-020-00491-1


Background: The quality of nursing clinical placements has been found to vary. Placement evaluation tools for nursing students are available but lack contemporary reviews of clinical settings. Therefore, the aim of this study was to develop a feasible, valid and reliable clinical placement evaluation tool applicable to nursing student placements in Australia.

Methods: An exploratory mixed methods co-design project. Phase 1 included a literature review; expert rating of potential question items and Nominal Group Technique meetings with a range of stakeholders for item development. Phase 2 included on-line pilot testing of the Placement Evaluation Tool (PET) with 1263 nursing students, across all year levels at six Australian Universities and one further education college in 2019-20, to confirm validity, reliability and feasibility.

Results: The PET included 19-items (rated on a 5-point agreement scale) and one global satisfaction rating (a 10-point scale). Placements were generally positively rated. The total scale score (19 items) revealed a median student rating of 81 points from a maximum of 95 and a median global satisfaction rating of 9/10. Criterion validity was confirmed by item correlation: Intra-class Correlation Co-efficient ICC = .709; scale total to global score r = .722; and items to total score ranging from .609 to .832. Strong concurrent validity was demonstrated with the Clinical Learning Environment and Supervision Scale (r = .834). Internal reliability was identified and confirmed in two subscale factors: Clinical Environment (Cronbach's alpha = .94) and Learning Support (alpha = .96). Based on the short time taken to complete the survey (median 3.5 min) and students' comments, the tool was deemed applicable and feasible.

Conclusions: The PET was found to be valid, reliable and feasible. Use of the tool as a quality assurance measure is likely to improve education and practice in clinical environments. Further international evaluation of the instrument is required to fully determine its psychometric properties.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:clinical placement, clinical practicum, education, quality improvement, students, nursing
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Curriculum and pedagogy
Research Field:Medicine, nursing and health curriculum and pedagogy
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Provision of health and support services
Objective Field:Nursing
UTAS Author:Reid-Searl, K (Professor Kerry Reid-Searl)
ID Code:153662
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:Nursing
Deposited On:2022-09-30
Last Modified:2022-11-02
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