In pursuit of an optimal model of undergraduate nurse clinical education: An integrative review

Jan Forber, Michelle DiGiacomo, Bernie Carter, Patricia Davidson, Jane Phillips, Debra Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Clinical learning experiences are an essential part of nurse education programs. Numerous approaches to clinical education and student supervision exist. The aim of this integrative review was to explore how studies have compared or contrasted different models of undergraduate nurse clinical education. A search of eight databases was undertaken to identify peer-reviewed literature published between 2006 and 2015. Eighteen studies met the inclusion criteria. A diverse range of methodologies and data collection methods were represented, which primarily explored student experiences or perceptions. The main models of undergraduate nurse clinical education identified were: traditional or clinical facilitator model; the preceptorship or mentoring model; and the collaborative education unit model in addition to several novel alternatives. Various limitations and strengths were identified for each model with no single optimal model evident. Thematic synthesis identified four common elements across the models: the centrality of relationships; the need for consistency and continuity; the potential for variety of models; and the viability/sustainability of the model. The results indicate that effective implementation and key elements within a model may be more important than the overarching concept of any given model. Further research is warranted to achieve an agreed taxonomy and relate model elements to professional competence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-92
Number of pages10
JournalNurse Education in Practice
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Clinical education
  • Clinical placements
  • Education models
  • Nursing students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Education


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