A process evaluation of the clinical skills laboratory in a private nursing school (KZN)
Background: The Private Nursing School was founded in 1999 in Durban when the first nursing students started the Nursing program. In 2006 there was an upgrade to the Private Nursing School when a clinical skills laboratory was introduced to enhance the students’ clinical skills. The clinical skills laboratory was furnished with the equipment needed for demonstrations, role-plays and lectures to take place, and a need arose to evaluate the laboratory. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to conduct a process evaluation to evaluate the clinical skills laboratory at the Private Nursing School with regard to the quality of equipment, satisfaction of the students and the efficiency of clinical facilitators. Methodology: A process evaluation was conducted of the clinical laboratory, including a quantitative survey to evaluate the students’ satisfaction (n=97), a quantitative audit of the quality of the equipment, a review of the utilisation of the clinical skills laboratory and semi-structured interviews with the four clinical facilitators. Students from two years were purposively selected for the study as they made the most use of the clinical skills laboratory. Survey tools were developed by the researcher. Findings from the surveys and audits were described and Chi-square test and Mann-Whitney to compare satisfaction and beliefs of the students. Information from the clinical facilitator interviews were analysed for common themes on usage and satisfaction. Results: The students and facilitators reported overall satisfaction with the running of the clinical skills laboratory. The findings of the evaluation showed that the clinical laboratory was reaching the target groups with all students making use of the clinical skills laboratory for the purpose of viewing demonstrations, subjecting skills to assessment or practising skills. The students felt that learning did take place in the clinical skills laboratory with most of the students (94, 96.2%) reporting that knowledge was gained from demonstrations and practice. Almost two thirds of the students (59.8%) felt that the support from the clinical facilitators was beneficial to them. Some quality issues in terms of equipment were identified where damaged equipment could not be used by the support staff and facilitators stating that there was a need to improve the simulation experience for the students so that they can gain the much-needed practical and theoretical knowledge required for their stipulated course. Conclusion: The clinical skills laboratory is functioning at a level that is satisfactory to the nursing students and the clinical facilitators. Future research should be conducted regarding the impact and outcomes of the clinical skills laboratory training on students’ ability to function in the clinical setting.