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This study investigated the actual and preferred hospital clinical learning environment (CLE) of student nurses in Enugu state. This research specifically assessed the student nurses view of their actual and preferred hospital CLE, determine if differences exist in student nurses view of their actual and preferred hospital CLE, establish the association between the actual and preferred hospital CLE and students’ age, gender, location and year of study and identify factors that influence student nurses opinion of their hospital CLE. A cross sectional descriptive survey design was adopted for the study which permits the observation, description and documentations of aspects of a situation as it naturally occurred. The sample size of 454 nursing students was purposively chosen for the study. Data were collected using two validated instrument thus; researcher developed questionnaire and adapted 42 item standardized clinical learning environment inventory (CLEI) (Actual and Preferred) questionnaires. Data analysis was done using frequency counts, simple percentages, means and standard deviation for research objectives, while t-test with cut off point of 2.50 MANOVA and ANOVA were employed in testing the eight null hypotheses at .05 level of significance. The findings revealed that there is significant difference in the student nurses view of their actual and preferred hospital



1.1 Background to the Study

Nursing is a practice based profession with clinical education as an essential part of the nursing curriculum. Clinical practice is the focus for students learning and clinical placement/ posting constitutes one of the most integral components in the nursing education. Clinical placement is the venue where skills, knowledge and attitudes developed in the theoretical part of the curriculum are applied, developed and integrated into practice (Newton, Jolly, Ockerby & Cross, 2010).

According to Norman (2009), clinical practice setting provides students with unique learning opportunities in which classroom theory and skills are put to the test with real life situations. Besides the clinical training foster students in the application of knowledge, skill and attitude to clinical field of situations, it is vital that valuable clinical time should be utilized effectively and productively.

Zilembo and Montereso (2008) stressed the implication of practicing in an appropriate clinical learning environment at the proper time in order that theory and practice can complement each other. Nursing students perceived the clinical setting as the most influential context for acquiring knowledge and nursing skills (Al-Kandari, Vidal & Thomas 2009).

The importance of learning in the clinical area has been a major emphasis in the United Kingdom and other parts of the world, Nigeria inclusive. Providing quality clinical training with an emphasis on improvement and development is paramount in ensuring that students experience good quality care and treatment of patients and clients (E.N.B & D.O.H 2001).

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