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Pilot student placements with children with complex needs

Publication year
Hewitt-Taylor, J.; Farasat, H.

Enabling the increasing population of children with complex and continuing health needs to live at home with their families is generally considered the ideal approach. Services for children with complex needs are commissioned from a wide range of providers, including the private and voluntary sectors. Pilot placements for two student nurses with a private company that had a significant caseload of children with complex and continuing needs were evaluated as a way of enabling student nurses to develop knowledge and skills in this field. The objective was to increase understanding of the issues involved in facilitating this type of placement and to develop placements in line with the findings. Semi structured interviews with students and mentors were used to generate evaluative data. The placement was well evaluated by all parties. Students gained important clinical skills but also appreciated in greater depth the humanistic needs of children, young people and their families. Advantages of working with a company whose focus is the provision of complex care at home included variety and continuity in the placement and a greater number of families across whom the students can be spread to avoid excessive or constant intrusion. Such placements can offer valuable learning opportunities, however, ongoing development and evaluation of placements is needed, particularly as these are predominantly based in family homes.

Research abstracts