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Introduction: Following successful completion of diploma and degree nursing programmes, prospective qualified nurses require to
complete a hospital-based, clinically supervised practice programme as an ‘intern’, ‘apprentice’ or ‘mentee’. In common with many
countries across the world, nurse interns in Saudi Arabia join specifically designed programmes, provided across a range of clinical
settings and guided by clinical learning objectives with mentorship from qualified nurses. Feedback on the experience of interns as
they begin to apply their previous learning in a range of clinical areas is important for understanding their challenges in practice, the
learning gaps and the needs for preparation of future nurses.
Aim: To explore interns’ experience of clinical practice following a 6 month internship programme for newly graduated nurses.
Setting: Study was conducted at an acute care hospital setting, in a selected hospital, Saudi Arabia.
Participants: The study include, diploma prepared nurses in final month of six month internship programme.
Methods: A qualitative method, using one-to-one interviews, was used to explore the views of interns learning experience in clinical
practice, focussing on their learning experiences as they prepare to be clinical competent new nursing practitioners. Thematic analysis
of accounts of their insights and experiences was performed.
Results: Pilot data were presented from initial interviews (n=4). Six preliminary main thematic areas were identified namely;
‘interactive nature of health education with patients’; ‘using lay terminology; ‘recognition of patient information boundaries’;
‘more therapeutic communication/engagement with patients during care delivery/procedures; ‘complexity of real-life care’; and
‘participating in team care delivery.’
Conclusions: The accounts from interns highlighted their new experiences being grounded in the application of knowledge and
classroom learned practice, to real life care; dealing with patients as interactive recipients of care, the complexity of more than one
procedure being undertaken within a single episode of care and working as part of a team.
Hayam Asfour is a member of academic staff at the College of Nursing, Umm Al Qura University. She has worked for a period of more than 19 years as an Educator and Researcher in the Faculty of Nursing, Alexandria University, Egypt.