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Desperately seeking consistency: student nurses' experiences and expectations of academic supervision

Gratrix, Lesley; Barrett, David


Lesley Gratrix


© 2016 Elsevier Ltd Background Academic supervision - the support available to students when writing assignments - is a fundamental element in the provision of support within nurse education. Not only can it underpin high levels of academic achievement, but it also has a role in enhancing the retention of students. Despite its importance, there is little investigation of undergraduate academic supervision within the nursing literature. Objectives To explore students' experiences and expectations of academic supervision as part of an undergraduate programme of nurse education. Design A qualitative approach to explore student perceptions. Setting The research was undertaken at a Higher Education Institution in the United Kingdom. The institution offers undergraduate nurse education programmes to approximately 800 students. Participants Eight pre-registration nursing students from a Bachelor of Science programme participated in a focus group interview. All were in the first semester of their final year. Methods Data were collected using focus group interviewing, based around a semistructured question framework. The focus groups explored students' expectations and previous experiences of academic supervision. The focus group was recorded, responses were transcribed and thematic analysis was undertaken to identify key findings. Results Three themes were identified from the data: relationship with supervisor, variation between supervisors, and the link between supervision and marking. Overall, students identified frustration with variability in the provision of academic supervision. Conclusions Effective academic supervision depends on a strong relationship between student and supervisor - something that can be difficult to achieve if supervision is only for a short period of time. Equally, students crave a consistent approach to supervision, in terms of both the amount and content of feedback. Students are able to identify and articulate a clear link between effective supervision and academic achievement.


Gratrix, L., & Barrett, D. (2017). Desperately seeking consistency: student nurses' experiences and expectations of academic supervision. Nurse education today, 48, 7-12.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 7, 2016
Online Publication Date Sep 16, 2016
Publication Date 2017-01
Deposit Date Sep 23, 2016
Publicly Available Date Sep 23, 2016
Journal Nurse education today
Print ISSN 0260-6917
Electronic ISSN 1532-2793
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 48
Pages 7-12
Keywords Students; Nursing, Academic achievement; Student experiences; Student retention
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Authors' accepted manuscript of article published in: Nurse education today, 2017, v.48.


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