An exploration of the impact of role modelling on adult nursing students' professional development

Felstead, I. (2013) An exploration of the impact of role modelling on adult nursing students' professional development. Ed.D. thesis, Canterbury Christ Church University.


Download (1MB)


Service users expect to be cared for by a nurse who is both competent and professional, a particularly pertinent point following the Francis and Keogh reports (DH 2013a, DH 2013b). Nursing students’ experience of education in practice strongly shapes their behaviour and knowledge but the ways in which this influences development of their professionalism is not yet fully understood. This study explored nursing students’ lived experience of role modelling aiming to understand the impact on their development as professional practitioners.

In June 2013 twelve student nurses (4 first years, 4 second years, 4 third years) participated in in-depth interviews which were non-structured to allow exploration of the phenomenon that were most important to the participant. Using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis, the information gathered from participants underwent several stages of thematic analysis.

The influence of peers and service users on students’ professional development expands upon previously reported research. This is directly related to how students perceive their role model status and although not generalizable participants in this study found that reflecting on experiences with peers and observing the reaction by service users to care delivery had a positive influence on their professional development. Other principal findings include the importance to students of feeling valued as part of the team within their clinical placements and the potentially deleterious impact on students working with nurses who are displaying signs of burnout.

Consequent to these findings, it would appear important for student nurse education to include acknowledgement of how clinical nurse observed behaviour may influence student development, facilitation of peer-to-peer interaction as appropriate to the clinical situation and the potential impact of fostering a ‘personal yet professional’ relationship with the student. A number of other issues are also identified. Given the potential influence of peers in enhancing students’ education, one way of optimising the effect of this novel finding could be to include a formal peer to peer mentoring system across all three years of a pre-registration programme. The findings indicate a limited awareness of the potential influence of academic staff as professional role models. This is a possible area for development. Students should also be guided to work with a number of staff in order to ensure exposure to a variety of practice behaviours.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: R Medicine > RT Nursing
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Wellbeing
Depositing User: Roz Bass
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2015 15:18
Last Modified: 24 Sep 2016 18:12

Actions (login required)

Update Item (CReaTE staff only) Update Item (CReaTE staff only)


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics


Connect with us

Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00