Emma Collins

1204 – Creating a positive learning environment: The CAPLE project

Health professional students describe mixed experiences of staff interactions in the clinical environment.  In response to reports of concerning levels of student harassment, the Otago Polytechnic School of Nursing and the Dunedin School of Medicine undertook a participatory action research.

Negative experiences can be devastating for students. Literature suggests that students can doubt their career choice, fail to learn, experience stress and mental health issues.

The CAPLE project began with a number of surveys to numerous populations. A particular clinical area was then identified within a local DHB and Phase 1 commenced. Two investigators worked closely with health care staff to improve teaching and learning through workshops and one-on-one discussion and support. Entry and exit ‘atmosphere’ interviews were also conducted.

Preliminary findings indicate self-reflection from participants, and increased clarity around specific issues raised about teaching practice. The overall, positive response also contributed to a generally more positive environment for students.

The CAPLE project expects to see positive results over a significant period of time. Further phases are being planned to provide this data.  The well-being of students is a concern to all areas of health care in order to maintain quality of care and ensure the sustainability of the healthcare workforce.

Phase 2 of the project is planned for July 2017 and will include recommendations from Phase 1. This is due for completion in December 2017.

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