Clinical instruction in mental health nursing: students' perceptions of best practices

Chris Wenzel, Sherri Melrose, Annette Lane, Arlene Kent-Wilkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Negative clinical educational experiences for student nurses are predictors of negative attitudes and perceptions towards mental health. In clinical education, instructors take on this important role often with little to no formal training. This study explored nursing students' perceptions of instructional best practices in mental health clinical education. Methods: A qualitative descriptive design was used, and 10 Canadian baccalaureate nursing (BN) students were interviewed. These students had completed a six-week practicum on an acute inpatient psychiatric unit in either their second, third or fourth year of study. Results: Through thematic analysis, three themes were identified: (1) Students valued feeling prepared at the beginning of the clinical placement. (2) Students felt empowered when instructors encouraged self-direction. (3) Students appreciated positive role modeling by their instructors. Conclusions: Suggestions for clinical teaching strategies are made to mitigate student stress, increase confidence, and address the influence of mental health stigma on learning.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20210147
JournalInternational journal of nursing education scholarship
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan. 2022


  • best practices in clinical education
  • constructivism
  • mental health nursing instructor
  • qualitative description


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