Altered nursing student perspectives: Impact of a pre-clinical observation experience at an outpatient oncology setting

Tracy L. Powell, Jordan Cooke, Alannah Brakke


This study examined the influence of an observation experience at an outpatient oncology setting on first-year nursing students. This experiential learning opportunity occurred prior to any formal clinical practice course. A hermeneutic phenomenology approach was used to uncover pre-licensure nursing students’ perspectives about cancer, as well as their understanding of the roles and responsibilities of registered nurses in cancer care both before and following their experience. A total of 10 nursing students agreed to participate in the study. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews following which data were analyzed and interpreted to understand the meaning in the experience. Two overarching themes were identified including circles of relationships, and the many sides of outpatient oncology. This study reveals that experiential learning in the form of a low-risk, observation-only experience may be an opportunity for pre-licensure students to gain new perspectives about cancer care and nurses roles in caring for individuals and families who are impacted by cancer.

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