Challenges in the professional care encounters: Nursing students' experiences of a hospital unit

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To prepare and guide the nursing students through their clinical periods, evidence on the students’ experiences of professional care encounters in a hospital unit, is required.

A systematic review following The Joanna Briggs Institute guidelines. Five qualitative research articles were included in the review. Data were extracted and the findings were categorized and themed on the basis of similarity of meaning and aggregated to produce a comprehensive set of synthesized findings.

The review process resulted in 55 findings and 14 categories. The categories generated six themes: Psychological reactions; Negotiating evidence; Empathy as port of entry; Acknowledgement; Lost in the clinical setting; Intimacy. The themes illustrates that feelings of anxiety, distress and vulnerability characterize the encounter between nursing students and patients in a hospital. The students are constantly trying to find ways to keep the patients happy as they try to avoid conflicts. The imagination and thoughts of what might happen in the encounter are based on the nursing students’ personal life experiences. They uses their close relatives as keys to the express empathy in the establishment of the nurse-patient relation. The students pursue the feeling of being useful and feeling useful. They want to make a difference by easing the patients’ suffering. Nevertheless, in trying to help, they are failing to succeed, because they lack knowledge and experience, and this leave the students with feelings of inadequacy. The students are challenged by their personal boundaries in the professional care encounter and they experience a great psychological impact

Patient contact is an unavoidable and complex component in the nursing education. The students have not yet built up a professional filter and are exposed to a wealth of emotional reactions. It is essential that the faculties prepare and guide the students before, during and after the professional care encounter to assist the development of educational strategies to prevent attrition and to the topic “The Established Relationship between the Nurse and Patient” curricula in the theoretical part of the nursing education.

The poster presents the categorized synthesis.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date30 May 2017
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2017
EventICN 2017 - The International Council of Nurses (ICN): Nurses at the forefront transforming care - Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 27 May 20171 Jun 2017


ConferenceICN 2017 - The International Council of Nurses (ICN)
Internet address


  • nursing

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